Brrrr, it’s cold outside and that doesn’t come as much of a surprise for anyone who gets hit with arctic air during the winter. But what might surprise you is coming home to a frozen pipe or, worse, one that has already burst due to the buildup of pressure from ice on the inside. Find out how you can keep pipes from freezing and how to thaw already frozen pipes below!
Frozen pipes can cause a myriad of issues for homeowners — from clogged lines resulting in no water from faucets to pipe cracks and leaks, it can become a real headache rather quickly. So, we’re here to let you in on a few maintenance tasks you can perform so that you can sleep better at night knowing how to keep pipes from freezing.
HOW TO PREVENT PIPES FROM FREEZING
- Use Pipe Insulation: it’s relatively inexpensive to buy and it really works wonders. You can choose fiberglass wrap-type insulation or foam tubing — either or will do the trick! Simply wrap your pipes with insulation and use tape to secure it in place every few feet or so.
- Keep Doors Closed: especially the garage door and basement doors as these areas tend to be the coldest areas of the house. This is essential if there are water supply lines travelling through these areas as these spaces are more susceptible to freezing temperatures.
- Open Cabinet Doors: have pipes running through base or wall cabinets? It’s a good idea to leave the doors cracked open so that warm air can circulate around the pipes.
- Add Insulation: to basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces as insulation will help maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Let Water Drip: from faucets and/or shower heads to keep water flowing through your pipes. Sure, this can lead to higher water bills and a bit of water wasted, but it can help save you major headaches when it comes to pipe freeze-ups. Just be sure not to let fixtures drip more than a few times per minute.
- Set The Thermostat: no lower than 55°F even if you’re going to be away from the house for a while. This will prevent stagnant water in your pipes which is a recipe for disaster as stagnant water freezes much faster than water that’s constantly moving.
HOW TO THAW A FROZEN PIPE
If you suspect a pipe has frozen in your home, act fast! Turn on a nearby faucet to allow water to flow through and hopefully melt the blockage. In most cases, even cold water will be warm enough to melt the ice on the inside of the pipe.
You can also apply heat to specific sections of the pipe by using an electric heating pad or a hair dryer. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored and remember never to use an open flame (blowtorch, lighter, propane heater, etc.) as these items can cause severe damage to the pipe.
Just be sure to inspect the pipe for cracks before you begin to apply heat. If the pipe has already bursts, having water flow through the line could cause it to leak out and flood your home.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to call in a licensed plumber in the case of a frozen pipe, especially if you cannot pinpoint the location of the freeze or are unable to thaw the pipe using the methods listed above.
That’s where we come in! When your plumbing system breaks down or starts to cause you problems, Universe Home Services is here to help.
With more than 60 years of industry experience, we understand that plumbing problems don’t always strike at the most convenient of times. Because of this, we’re proud to offer 24-hour emergency plumbing services, 7 days a week. Give us a call at (516) 473-0202.