Here on the east coast, we tend to experience milder winters in recent years; but temperatures still fall to freezing at times. When that happens, the pipes in your home are at risk for freezing. Cold weather will not only cause pipes to freeze, but in some cases they may burst. The following tips will help prevent that from occurring.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Even if you won't be at home for an extended period of time, set your house temperature to at least 68 degrees.
- Open the doors to those cabinets below the sinks so that room heat may circulate.
- Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces before cold weather strikes. Pipes that run along the outside walls of your home are most prone to freezing.
- Seal all windows and cover or close all air vents located near pipes in your home to avoid wind drafts that contribute to freezine pipes.
- Be sure that the temperature in your basement remains above freezing.
- Well before cold weather arrives, take steps to insulate your home's exterior walls.
- Locate both the house's main water valve and the valve on your water heater in advance. In an emergency, you'll need to act quickly to turn off the water if necessary.
- Disconnect outside hoses and cover all external faucets.
- Before you leave your house for an extended length of time, remember to shut off water supply valves to any non-essential items like your washing machine.
Be Diligent when Temperatures Reach Freezing
- Turn on your faucets to just drip lukewarm water.
- Recognize the symptoms of pipe freezing. The first is reduced water flow from a faucet.
- Check faucets frequently to be sure they are maintaining water flow and pressure.
- Monitor cold air drafts and seal air gaps allowing cold air around pipes.
Pipes Can Still Freeze - Despite Your Best Efforts
- If a pipe freezes, thaw it using a heat source like a hair dryer or wrap the cold pipe sections with towels soaked in hot water.
- When thawing a frozen pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet which should be turned on.
Take Quick Action if a Pipe Bursts
- Shut off water at the main valve.
- If the pipe that bursts is a hot watere pipe, then close the water heater intake valve.
- Call a plumber as soon as possible.