While our area doesn’t have those blizzards currently happening in the northeast, we certainly have had our own close calls with potential frozen pipes this year. We thought you could use some information about preventing and fixing those frozen pipe issues.
Interestingly, water has a unique property of expanding when it freezes. That expansion can put huge pressure on pipes causing leaks, splits, and breaks.
Thanks to the American Red Cross for the tips on identifying those pipes likely to freeze, protecting pipes from freezing, preventing pipe freezing, and thawing the frozen pipes.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are:
- Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
- Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
- Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.
How to Protect Pipes from Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold-water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Dean and Draper
We hope that your pipes weren’t impacted during our latest freeze and that you have found the tips in our blog helpful.
One more suggestion is for Homeowners and renters should check their insurance policies to make sure they are up to date and will cover damage that could be caused by frozen or otherwise broken pipes. The best time to check is before it becomes an issue.
If you have questions about your policy, the coverage you need, or how to add coverage to your policy please call us. We are here to provide good answers and advice.
Dean& Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. ContactUs.
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