Preventing Frozen Pipes

preventing frozen pipes
Frozen pipe aftermath from a condo unit in 2015. This claim ended up being over $180,000 in damages/repairs.

One of the messiest and most costly homeowner repairs is fixing a burst frozen pipe. Water from a burst pipe can cause damage to carpeting, short out electrical appliances and ruin furniture. Luckily, there are several recommendations that offer some security against these nightmares.

Keep Your Pipes from Freezing

  • Disconnect and shut off outdoor hoses and faucets. Allow the excess water to drain out.
  • Trickle a little water out of your faucets periodically to keep water moving within the pipes.
  • Do not set your thermostat lower than 55° F when going on vacation. Ask someone to periodically check the temperature in your home while you are away.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated interior areas, such as crawl spaces and attics.
  • Wrap pipes in heat tape or thermostatically-controlled heat cables.
  • Seal any leaks with caulk or insulation.

 

Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. Pipes that are exposed to extreme cold can burst when water expands; these include outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in basements, attics and garages.

If you turn on a faucet and no water or only a trickle comes out, your pipes may be frozen. Turn off the main water valve and keep the faucet on. Apply heat to the pipe by using an electric heating pad, hair dryer or portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipe in towels soaked in hot water. You should apply heat until you regain water pressure. If this does not solve the problem, contact a licensed plumber to inspect your pipes.

 

This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional advice. © 2008, 2013, 2016 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.