Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a major risk during cold winter months in Everett. During a deep freeze or a cold snap, the water in your piping can become frozen. Since water has the unique property of expanding as it freezes, this can cause some serious damage by inflicting over 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the pipes, often breaking them apart. This can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, especially to pipes in vulnerable areas like the interiors of outside walls, underneath sinks located on outside walls, and in unheated crawlspaces. Here are some useful tips for reducing the risks of frozen pipes in your home during the winter, as well as what to do to if the pipe has already frozen.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
- Drain the water out of your swimming pools and sprinklers. Don’t use antifreeze, but do follow the manufacturer’s instructions to remove the water so that it can’t be exposed to the kinds of cold temperatures that cause freezing to occur.
- Don’t leave hoses outside, especially if there’s water inside of them. Make sure to drain them and store them indoors if you’re expecting a freeze. Also, be sure to drain the outside hose bibs.
- Keep your garage doors closed. It’s quite likely that there are water pipes in there. Keeping the doors shut will help keep temperatures stable to prevent freezing any water that might be inside.
- Let cold water drip from faucets. The ongoing flow of moving water is a well-established way of preventing accumulated water from freezing solid.
- Don’t turn the heat down at night. It may be a bit more expensive, but it’s worth maintaining a constant, warm temperature to prevent overnight freezing.
- Keep the heat on, even if you’re not at home. Although it might seem like a good money-saving idea to turn off the heat if you’re not at home, this puts your home at risk for frozen pipes. Go ahead and set the temperature to at least 50 degrees Farenheit to be safe.
How to Thaw Out Your Pipes
If you’ve already discovered that the water in one of your pipes is frozen, it’s fortunately not the end of the world. You can generally spot a frozen pipe if, when you turn the faucet on, only a trickle of water comes out. If you’re in this scenario, here’s what to do.
- Keep the faucet open.
- Run some water through the pipe. The running, flowing water will help to melt the ice faster.
- Apply heat to the pipe. You can use several methods to do this. An electric hair dryer, electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, portable space heater, or towels soaked in hot water can all be used to transfer heat to the pipes, melting the ice inside.
- Keep applying heat until full water pressure has been restored.
If one pipe is frozen, you should definitely make sure to check other pipes for freezing as well. Also, keep in mind that you may not always be able to fix the problem yourself. If you can’t access the pipes, or just can’t seem to thaw them completely on your own, call a licensed plumber to help you get the job done.