21 Nov How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
It’s the middle of winter, and you turn on the faucet of your sink only to watch a tiny trickle drain out. You realize that you may have a frozen pipe.
Having a pipe freeze can lead to thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention the inconvenience of having to fix it. Instead of waiting on them to burst, care for your pipes before they ever become a problem.
Here are some suggestions for preventing your pipes from freezing or fixing a pipe that already froze.
How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
There are different techniques including:
- Close your garage door. Closing your garage door will hold the heat in better so your pipes stay warm. Pipes in the garage are some of the most likely to burst. ¹
- Leave your faucet on so it drips water. This will keep water flowing through your pipes instead of sitting still, making it less likely to freeze. ¹ ²
- The Home Depot recommends that you “disconnect your garden hoses and drain any water from the pipes that are leading to the outdoor systems.” ²
- Insulate your basement, crawl space, and attic to keep them warmer. This will help prevent the pipes inside from freezing. ¹ You should also insulate the individual pipes in these areas even if the climate in which you live isn’t normally that cold. ²
- Open up the cabinets beneath your bathroom and kitchen sinks so that the air circulates and keeps the pipes there warm. ²
- Seal up any cracks that let cold air in. ²
- Keep your house at the same temperature both night and day. If you plan to be away for several days, leave the thermostat on. Set it to at least 55 °F. ¹ ²
We often don’t think about the pipes in our homes until they become a problem. With some planning and foresight, you can prevent the inconvenience (and possible water damage) of frozen pipes. Don’t wait until a pipe freezes before thinking about caring for your home.
Also, don’t forget to prepare your HVAC for winter.
How to Unthaw a Frozen Pipe
Those tips will help you prevent your pipes from freezing, but what do you do if they’re already frozen? And how do you know if a pipe has frozen?
If a pipe is frozen, you’ll likely only get a trickle of water from your faucet when you turn it on. First, inspect the water line, looking for spots that feel really cold. This will help determine which part of the pipe is frozen. If any part of the pipe has burst, then you should turn the main water supply off then contact a plumber.
You also want to be careful not to electrocute yourself. As Consumer Reports recommends, “If there’s water on the floor and you have plugged-in appliances, stay clear.” Call a professional if a pipe breaks. Don’t try to handle this on your own. ²
Mid–State’s expert plumbers can help fix your home. If you live in Middle Tennessee and have a burst pipe, call us.
Consumer Reports stated, “If you suspect the pipes are frozen, be careful when thawing them out because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home.” ¹
What do you do once you’ve located the pipe? Here are some suggestions.
- Leave the faucet running as you try to thaw the pipe. This will help melt the ice faster. ¹
- If you have an electric heating pad, you can wrap the pipe in that and turn it on.
- Alternatively, you can use a space heater, hair dryer (move it back and forth over foot-long sections of the pipe), or towels filled with hot water (wrap them around the pipe). Whichever option you choose, be careful not to accidentally light anything on fire, and don’t use anything that has an open flame that could damage your pipe (or burn down your house). ¹ ²
How to Make Sure Your Pool’s Pipes Don’t Freeze
If you have a swimming pool, you don’t want the pipes to freeze. The Red Cross recommends that you drain the pool’s supply lines (you should have instructions from the installer or manufacturer on how to do this).
You shouldn’t use antifreeze, however, unless you’re directed to. The Red Cross states that “antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.”
If you have frozen pipes (and especially if you have a broken one), call Mid–State in Nashville and Middle TN. We’ll send a team to your house to fix and replace.