Frozen Pipes…. How to Prevent It
How Can I Prevent My Pipes from Freezing?
Now is the time to protect pipes from freezing before it gets cold. Water expands as it freezes and when it does it puts so much pressure on the pipes that it causes them to break. This can happen even in warmer areas like New Mexico. Cold weather can sneak up on homeowners so it’s important to keep an eye on the weather. Water can freeze once temperatures drop to 32 degrees. Be especially vigilant when temperatures dip below 20 degrees, which is when most pipes burst. Just a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, major structural damage, and the immediate potential for dangerous mold growth. Cracked or burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during the winter months, but they are also preventable! Keep reading to find out how and what to do if it happens to you.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines and remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
- Close water supply lines to outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break. Place Styrofoam covers over all outdoor faucets.
- Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
- Insulate water pipes with pipe sleeves with UL-listed heat tape, heat cables, or similar materials including both hot and cold-water pipes in the garage and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Let the cold-water drip from the faucet. Running a trickle of water through the pipe helps prevent pipes from bursting.
- Set temperature no lower than 55° F if you will be going away during cold weather.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. This is only temporary. Your heating bill may be higher, but it is a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst. No one needs that.
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Here’s what to do:
- Know now where your shutoff valve is located. If you experience burst pipes, shut off the water
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe, water will begin to melt and flow. Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
When frozen pipes burst, there is a splashing, hissing, or a thumping noise and there may be a questionable odor caused by water damage. Water damage to your home can be stressful and expensive to repair. We understand and can help restore your home as inexpensively as possible. Water Extraction Experts use the most advanced technology in water damage mitigation and mold remediation to quickly get your home and your life back to normal again.
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