How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
As winter rolls around, homeowners face a serious threat to their property—frozen pipes. Pipes can freeze overnight, and cause potentially drastic damage to your home. A frozen pipe can easily become a burst pipe, which then leads to flooding and other major problems for your home.
Prevent the Problem
The trick to avoiding damage is to prevent your pipes from freezing. Instead of leaving the condition of your pipes to chance, try these tips to save yourself the expense and stress of a pipe bursting:
- Insulate pipes and faucets that run outside your home, and disconnect all garden hoses. These pipes are fully exposed to changes in the elements, so it’s especially important that you get them well insulated before the temperatures drop.
- Insulate pipes that run through unheated areas of your home, such as attics and garages. Additionally, pipes that run along outside walls should receive extra insulation. Insulating the pipes can involve putting more insulation in the walls or it can involve putting some sort of insulating material around the pipes themselves.
- Keep your heater on at night. Outdoor temperatures tend to plummet at night, and keeping the heat on in your home may provide the extra warmth that will prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep under sink cupboard doors open. This will allow the warmer air in the rest of your home to heat the exposed pipes beneath the sink.
- Turn lukewarm water on a steady drip. Water that isn’t moving will freeze more quickly, so keep lukewarm water moving throughout the night will help prevent freezing.
Monitor Your Pipes
If you suspect that your pipes may be beginning to freeze or have the potential to freeze it’s important to keep an eye on them.
- Reduced water flow is one of the first signs. Check your faucets for pressure and water flow before bed and again when you wake up in the morning.
- Monitor vulnerable places. Check the pipes around your water meter. Check the pipes in all unheated areas, in crawl spaces and near exterior walls.
- Seal air drafts. Identify any cold air drafts coming in from the chimney or flue and caulk any gaps that are near pipes. Also check any rooms that become particularly cold during winter time for any cracks or holes allowing cold air to enter. If you find any seal them off with caulking or other materials.
If a Pipe Freezes or Bursts
If you have a pipe freeze there are steps you can take to aid the pipe before it becomes even worse and bursts open. If the pipe does burst take the steps mentioned below.
- Thaw the pipe. If a pipe or faucet inside of your home freezes, it can be thawed with a hair dryer. (Avoid operating hair dryer near standing water, for safety purposes).
- Wrap the pipe. Another method to thaw a frozen pipe is by soaking towels in hot water and wrap them around the cold sections of the pipe.
- Start thawing near faucet. When you begin thawing a pipe make sure to thaw it starting near the faucet. Have the faucet turned on so the water can drip out as it begins to melt.
- Shut off water. Turn off the water immediately at the main valve.
- Water Heater valve. If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve located on top of the water heater should be closed.
- Call a plumber. Keep the emergency number of a trusted plumber nearby for quick access.
Frozen pipes can present a major problem for your home. Stop the problem before it starts by following these suggestions. If you do have an emergency, Shamrock Plumbing is here to help. If you’re looking to fix or replace part of your plumbing system, call your trusted Utah plumber at (801) 505-9383.