With the severe freezing winter temperatures we will be experiencing over the next few weeks, it is important to know how to prevent and thaw frozen pipes in your home.
When temperatures reach 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below, plumbing pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. When the water in the pipes freezes, it expands. If it expands enough, the pipe will burst resulting in major damage.
The First General team recommends the following tips to prevent pipes from freezing:
- Ideally, it is best not to expose water pipes to subfreezing temperatures by placing them only in heated spaces and avoiding attics, crawl spaces, and vulnerable outside walls. A plumber can help determine which pipes are at risk and recommend a plan re-route these at-risk pipes to protected areas
- Insulate water pipes with snap on foam insulation. This polyethylene flexible plastic foamed insulation will help prevent water supply pipes from freezing and reduces heat loss
- If you will be away from your home for a few days and the outside temperatures will be below freezing, it is recommended to leave your heat set at a minimum of 55 degrees. A lower temperature may save on the heating bill, but damage from potentially bursting pipes can be disastrous
- Letting the faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. Opening the faucet will relieve pressure in the water supply line. If there is no excessive water pressure, the pipe should not burst even if the water inside the pipe freezes
- Open cabinet doors under sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms to allow inside heat to the water
For additional tips on preventing frozen pipes, visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/winter-storm/frozen-pipes.html.
If you open a faucet and no water comes out, this is the first indication you may have a frozen pipe. It is recommended to call a plumber immediately. However, if a plumber is not available, you can try the following:
- Locate the water main shut off valve to turn the main water to the house off
- Open the faucet the pipe runs to before thawing the frozen pipe to allow water to flow through the pipe and relieve any built up pressure in the pipe
- Using a hair dryer, start from the interior faucet end of the pipe and work your way toward the colder end of the pipe. Another option is to wrap a thick towel around the frozen pipe and run hot water over it. Do NOT use any kind of open flame to thaw your frozen pipes. It will potentially damage your pipes and start a fire.
If you have experienced water damage due to a burst pipe, visit our page on water restoration cleanup https://firstgeneralservice.com/water-damage-services.