Winter is on its way, which means you have some maintenance to do around your home to prepare for the colder weather. Frozen pipes can burst and become one of the most expensive home disasters you can deal with. The damages caused by frozen water pipes can be catastrophic. Just one burst pipe in a home running at 4-8 gallons a minute from a burst pipe can do tens of thousands of dollars damage in a manner matter of minutes.
Preventing Frozen Pipes: What to Do
- Allow a small trickle of cold water to run from your faucet. This will keep water moving in your pipes, preventing freezing.
- Open under-sink cabinet doors to keep warm room air circulating around pipes.
- Use a small fan to help circulate air under your cabinets
- External openings such as basement doors, windows and crawl spaces should be sealed with weather stripping, caulk and sealant.
- Insulate external and exposed pipes with pipe insulation.
- Take the time before the first freeze of the season to drain out the sprinkler system. Disconnect, drain and store all hoses and exterior water spigot.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If there is no water flowing from your faucets at all, you most likely have frozen or burst pipes. Many times, the exterior of the pipe will be frozen as well. If you know that you have a frozen pipe, take these measures to begin the thawing process.
- Turn off the “Main” water valve to the house and open a faucet to allow melted water to flow through. Open the lowest hot and cold faucets in your home, i.e, basement laundry tray. Be aware that if the water to your house is shut off, it may also turn off any fire protection system you may have.
- Wrap towels soaked in warm water around the pipes or purchase electric pipe warmers.
- DO NOT use any open flame or electric heater directly to the piping as this could cause electrocution.