Steps to Take to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

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Remove outdoor hoses and drain them of all water. Shut off the valve that runs to those hoses from inside and turn on the outside hose bibs to rain the water caught between the interior valve and the outside bib. Check your home for other areas where water lines may be exposed to low temperatures such as swimming pool lines and pipes in garage or attic areas. Water lines close to walls, such as those in kitchens, can also be susceptible to freezing. Drain any water lines that are not regularly used such as swimming pool lines.

On interior pipes and those that are used throughout the winter, consider installing pipe sleeves or heat tape on exposed water pipes. Set your home’s thermostat to no less than 55° F, even when you are out of town. If your garage contains water pipes, be sure to keep it closed when not in use. In extreme cold, if you are concerned about the pipes in your kitchen, open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Thawing Frozen Pipes

If you turn on pipes that are on outside walls or exposed to the outdoors and either nothing or just a trickle comes out, they are likely frozen. The first thing to do is to keep the faucet on. As the pipe begins to warm and the frozen water melts, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. This running water will help the ice melt. Using a hair dryer, heating pad or space heater (whichever is easiest considering the location of the pipe), heat the pipes until full water flow is restored. Be sure NOT to use a blowtorch, propane heater, open flame or other heating sources that might be dangerous. If the application of heat to the pipe does not return water to its full pressure, call a licensed professional to assist. Check all of the other faucets in your home to be sure that they have not been affected. If they have, locate their water source and repeat the heating process above. What to Do When Pipes Burst

If a pipe burst does occur and flooding begins in the home, call a professional immediately. Turn off all water valves. Remove any items that can be moved out of standing water. Use whatever is available to remove standing water, such as buckets, a shop vacuum and towels. Until professional equipment arrives, use fans to begin the dry out process. Mold will begin forming within 72 hours of a flood, making immediate dry out crucial.

2 Responses

  1. Todd Stauffer

    It makes a lot of sense that if an outside pipe doesn’t let any water out, then it is probably frozen. Keeping an eye on those pipes would be really important to ensure that they don’t end up as burst pipes. If they do explode though, it would be important to shut off your water and call a professional as soon as you can.

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