It’s about to get very cold outside! Freezing temperatures can lead to frozen pipes and water damage in your home. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take right now to help prevent freezing pipes.
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Keep heat at 55 degrees or higher even when you are out of town.
- During a cold spell, turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night.
- Wrap pipes in foam insulation tubes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest.
- Seal air leaks surrounding or near pipes.
- If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on and drain your water system before you go.
- Identify the locations of shutoff valves so you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible should a pipe burst.
What to do if pipes freeze
- The first thing to do, faced with the telltale trickle, is try to find where the pipe is frozen. Keep the faucet open, and open other faucets in the house to determine if the problem is widespread. If it is, turn off the main water supply and call a plumber.
- If it’s a single pipe, and you can reach the frozen section, try using a hair dryer, heating pad or portable space heater – just never leave it running unattended. Keep the faucet open and work up and down the pipe, starting at the faucet and working backward to the frozen section. Apply heat until full water pressure returns, then reduce the flow to a trickle until the cold snap ends.
- An alternative method: Wrap the frozen section with towels soaked in hot water. Don’t pour hot water directly on a frozen pipe, and don’t use a propane torch or other open flame.
If these approaches don’t work, or if you have a leaking or burst pipe, don’t hesitate to turn off the main water supply and call in a licensed plumber. And, be sure to touch base with us, too, preferably before a crisis. You’ll want to know whether you’re covered for burst pipes and the ensuing water damage.
Original author: Safeco Insurance