Frozen pipes are a real risk when winter weather rolls around. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst, which can cause flooding and serious water damage. It’s essential to know what to do if your pipes freeze, but it’s equally important to take precautions against pipe freeze before the temperature nosedives.
Preventing Pipe Freeze
- During fall, you should turn the water off to any outdoor faucets and spigots. Remove hoses, drain the water lines, and make sure the hose bibs are shut off inside your house.
- Check your home for pipes that pass through unconditioned spaces like a basement, garage or crawl space. These pipes are at greatest risk, and you can protect them with fiberglass insulation or foam rubber insulation sleeves.
- Make sure everyone in your house knows where the main water shutoff valve is located, and how to use it.
- During extremely cold weather, leave a trickle of water running from a faucet to keep the water moving. This will make freezing less likely. You can also protect pipes by opening up the cabinets they pass through in your bathroom and kitchen to expose the pipes to the warmed air in your home.
What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze.
- If a pipe freezes, your priority should be solving the problem before it bursts. Start by shutting off the water. If possible, you can just shut the water off to the affected area, but you may need to use the main shutoff valve to turn off the water to your entire house.
- You can thaw pipes by using a hand-held hairdryer, and by placing space heaters near the frozen pipe. Under no circumstances should you use a torch or other open flame to attempt to thaw your pipes (frozen pipes may be bad, but burning your house down is worse).
- In the event that a pipe does freeze to the point of bursting, shut off the water, turn off the electricity to the flooded area, and call a plumber immediately.