Prevent costly repairs due to frozen pipes

 

The weather is beginning to cool down, which means freezing temperatures and frozen pipes are right around the corner.

Taking a few steps now to prevent frozen pipes could save you thousands in costly repairs.  Here are some great tips from www.disastersafety.org:

 

  • Vulnerable pipes that are accessible should be fitted with insulation sleeves or wrapping
  • Cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes should be sealed with caulking to keep cold wind away from the pipes
  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let the warm air circulate around the pipes
  • Electric heating tapes and cables are available to run along pipes to keep the water from freezing
  • Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting… Opening a faucet will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. A dripping faucet wastes some water, so only pipes vulnerable to freezing (ones that run through an unheated or unprotected space) should be left with the water flowing. Even the slowest drip at normal pressure will provide pressure relief when needed. Where both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip, since both are subjected to freezing. If the dripping stops, leave the faucet(s) open, since a pipe may have frozen and will still need pressure relief.
  • When away from the house for an extended period during the winter, be careful how much you lower the heat… A solution is to drain the water system. This is the best safeguard. With no water in the pipes, there is no freezing.
Frozen-pipes-graphic_IBHS

Frozen Pipes Graphic courtesy of IBHS https://disastersafety.org/wp-content/uploads/Frozen-pipes-graphic_IBHS.jpg

And if you do suspect frozen pipes, act quickly to mitigate the damage. From the Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety:

If you open a faucet and no water comes out, don’t take any chances. Call a plumber. If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve (usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house); leave the faucet(s) open until repairs are completed. Don’t try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame; as this will damage the pipe and may even start a building fire. You might be able to thaw a pipe with a handheld hair dryer. Slowly apply heat, starting close to the faucet end of the pipe, with the faucet open. Work toward the coldest section. Don’t use electrical appliances while standing in water; you could get electrocuted.

For more information, visit www.disastersafety.org, or check out their information guide to frozen pipes here.

 

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