It is really cold out. Just like being exposed to cold weather can be dangerous to us, it isn’t doing our pipes any favors either. The water inside your pipes can freeze in cold weather. As freezing water expands, it increases the pressure inside the pipes, potentially leading to burst pipes, and inconvenient and costly water damage. Pipes most at risk for freezing are exposed pipes in unheated areas of the home, pipes located in exterior walls, and plumbing on the exterior of the home.
We have already told you that in preparing for winter, you should remove the hoses from your outdoor spigots and close your outdoor water shutoff. But here are some more things you can do to prevent frozen pipes.
- Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics and crawl spaces, with foam pipe insulation or electrical heating tape
- Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes
- Keep your 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
- Never set your thermostat below 55 degrees F.
- Allow a small trickle of water to run from your faucets
- Know where your shutoff valves are in case a pipe does burst
If you suspect a frozen pipe, for example if water is only coming out at a trickle:
- Keep the faucet open. As the water flows the ice will begin to melt.
- Apply heat to the frozen section by wrapping an electric heating pad around it, blowing it with a hair dryer, or wrapping it with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT USE A BLOWTORCH, KEROSENE OR PROPANE HEATER, OR OTHER OPEN FLAME DEVICE