How to Avoid Frozen Pipes in the Winter
When the weather turns frigid (which we’ve already experienced this season), there is a risk that your pipes can freeze and burst. This can lead to thousands of dollars of damage, as well as inconvenience. Pipes most at risk are those in unheated spaces like basements, crawlspaces, attics, and garages, and those exposed to exterior walls.
But there are things you can do to prevent pipes from both freezing and bursting. Keep an eye on the weather and watch out for freezing temperatures. You should consider these whenever the temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.
Tips to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing
Here are some tips to prevent frozen pipes:
- Keep your garage door closed at all times (you should be doing this anyway for security reasons) to prevent cold air from entering it.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so the warm air from the house can circulate around the pipes behind the cabinets, especially those near exterior walls.
- Let cold water trickle from faucets near exposed pipes. Yes, it will add to your water bill, but it’s a small price to pay to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
- If you are away from home, make sure your thermostat is NEVER set below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Insulate the pipes. Purchase an insulation kit at your local hardware store. The most common and easiest way to make sure your pipes are properly insulated is to install tubular foam that is slit lengthwise to slip over existing pipes. You can use this type of insulation on both metal or plastic pipes.
- Longer term, insulate unheated areas such as basements, attics and crawl spaces to limit the amount of cold air coming in.
How to Prevent Pipes from Bursting
If your pipes are already frozen (which you can notice if only a trickle of water is coming out), there are a few things you can do to thaw frozen pipes to prevent them from bursting.
- Turn on the faucet, so as the ice melts, water can flow through. Running water through the pipe will help melt the ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the frozen section of the pipe with an electric hair dryer or by wrapping the pipe in towels soaked in hot water. Do not use any device with an open flame.
- Apply the heat until full water pressure is restored. Then check all the other faucets in your home, because if one pipe froze, others may have as well.
Finally, if the pipe has already burst, shut off the main water supply to limit the damage and then call a plumber.
Contact Ravinia Plumbing for Plumbing Services
Hopefully, these tips have helped you avoid pipe freezes so you’ll never have to deal with the frustration of having a pipe burst during the winter. If you do experience a burst pipe, though, contact the licensed plumbers at Ravinia Plumbing. We have decades worth of experience repairing and replacing pipes.
We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating, and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.
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