How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you live in constant fear that your unheated water pipes can freeze, burst, and cause a watery mess in your garage, basement, and elsewhere, it’s time to turn that fear into an action plan.
Even better, it doesn’t take a ton of effort to prevent pipes from freezing – provided you follow these simple steps:
- Disconnect garden hoses and install covers on outside faucets.
- Shut off the water supply valves to your outside faucets.
- Keep your house temperature at 55 degrees or higher, even if you’re going away on vacation.
- Open cabinet doors below sinks and against outside facing walls to allow heat to circulate. This is especially important before going to bed at night when outdoor temps are at their coldest.
- Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
- Use foam insulation to cover pipes nearest exterior walls along with those in your garage, crawl space, or any other unheated area of your home. Also, consider insulating the inside of your garage door.
- Close all windows near water pipes and cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze faster and more often.
- Heat your basement and consider sealing your windows.
- If you plan to be away from home for an extended period, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.
- When temperatures dip well below freezing, turn on one water faucet before going to bed and keep it lukewarm. All you need is the smallest trickle since moving water can’t freeze.
What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze
Sometimes water pipes find a way to freeze anyway, no matter how many precautionary steps you might take. Should that happen, here’s what to do:
- Shut off your main water valve.
- If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
- If a pipe is frozen but hasn’t cracked, try thawing it with a hair dryer, starting in the middle of the frozen area and moving sideways. Just don’t let the hair dryer touch the pipe.
When professional help is called for, you can always count on Clog Master. We are your complete home plumbing resource, frozen pipe prevention and repair included.