As temperatures decrease, your pipes are at a greater risk for freezing and bursting. Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during intense winter conditions and may lead to expensive water damage repairs. Once the temperature starts dropping outside, do what you can to keep your pipes warm and the water running. The pipes in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages are most at risk. However, even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls are susceptible to freezing. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent this from happening. Take advantage of these tips to prevent frozen pipes.
How to Beat the Freeze
Some of the tips experts recommend may not help conserve water and heat, but the extra expense is nothing compared to a repair bill.
First and foremost, keep your garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage. It is also smart to open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors from time to time to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. Be sure to let the cold water drip from the faucets every so often. Running water through the pipes—even at a trickle—will significantly help prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep the thermostat set to a consistent temperature throughout the day and night. If you will not be home when temperatures are relatively low outside, it is best to leave the heat on in your home, set no lower than 55° F.
For long-term prevention, you can add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures. Pipe insulation can be done at a pretty low cost and usually is well worth it in the long run. To help prevent drafts, it is recommended to seal even the tiniest cracks and openings around windows, doors, and the plates where the house rests on its foundation.
If you need supplemental heat, consider using a space heater in a room where pipes might be at risk. Although it is not recommended to use a space heater in a bathroom, if it is necessary, make sure it’s plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter outlet and do not use an extension cord.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If only a trickle comes out when you turn on a facet, it may be that your pipe is frozen. Thawing out pipes must be done with caution because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home.
If you have a broken pipe, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve (most likely near the water meter or where the mainline enters the house). If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can turn on the faucet to heat the frozen pipe, so the ice plug begins to melt. Even cold water flowing through will help melt ice in the pipeline. People have also found it helpful to apply heat to the pipe section using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater. Be very careful to keep these items away from flammable materials. You can also wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Never use a device with open flames as the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.
A home usually is people’s most valuable asset. Be sure to protect your investment with Augusta homeowners insurance. If there is a serious issue, you’re unable to locate the frozen area, the frozen area is not accessible, or you cannot thaw the pipe, it is best to contact a licensed plumber.
About SB One Insurance Agency
At SB One Insurance Agency, we have served the businesses and residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania for more than 60 years. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Provident Bank, the region’s premier banking institution, and we are prepared to offer you personal, business, employee benefits, and risk management solutions. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.