When temperatures drop across the country, it is a good time to be reminded of how to prevent frozen pipes, and how to fix them if they do freeze. Burst pipes can cause severe water damage that is very costly to fix, so it’s always best to take preventive measures and avoid this expense.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you have outdoor spigots or faucets on your home, purchasing an inexpensive insulated dome or other style of cover can drastically reduce the odds of your pipes freezing and possibly bursting, causing you a watery winter headache. You should be able to find a spigot or faucet cover at most hardware or home improvement store.
Insulating any pipes that are exposed to the elements or cold drafts is a great way to prevent the water in them from freezing when temperatures plummet. This not only goes for the pipes underneath your home, but any pipes in attics, garages or basements that may not be properly insulated.
Foam or thermal wraps, heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables that can be wrapped around exposed pipes prone to freezing can be purchased online or from your local home improvement store. The warmer your water stays, the better your chances of avoiding disaster.
Open cabinet doors under sinks and in storage areas to allow heat from the room to circulate around uninsulated pipes. Keep your thermostat turned on and set no lower than 58 degrees, to keep the building warm. Remember to do this especially if you are planning to travel and be away from home for any length of time. The last thing you want is to come home to a lake where your living room used to be.
Allowing a slow, continuous drip from your faucets helps reduce a buildup of pressure inside the pipes from ice forming in the lines. The best faucet to leave dripping is the one farthest from the water’s point of entry to your home. This keeps the water flowing throughout the entire plumbing system and helps lessen the chance your pipes will freeze.
If Your Pipes Freeze
If you currently notice slower water flow and expect frozen pipes, call Leo’s Plumbing immediately. We can usually resolve issues like this before any damage occurs. If your pipes do freeze, here are some things you should do and one thing you should NOT do:
• Keep your faucets open. As the frozen area starts to melt, water will flow and running water will help melt ice in the pipe.
• Shut off the water main leading into the structure to reduce pressure on frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
• Apply heat to any frozen areas using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer or towels soaked in hot water.
• Use a portable space heater, kept away from flammable materials, to warm under the house (Never leave heater unattended).
• Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Never use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other type of open flame device.
If you cannot find the frozen area or it is not accessible, call Leo’s Plumbing to make sure the job is done properly. We use professional pipe-thawing equipment and have the expertise to take care of your plumbing problems quickly and efficiently.
With over 30 years of experience and a commitment to provide you with the ultimate customer service experience, we want to become your “go to” local resource for all things plumbing-related. Give us a call today at (719) 550-0837 for reliable, affordable, friendly service.