Five Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Thursday, 25 October 2018 15:20

When the weather outside is frightful… your water pipes are vulnerable to freezing and creating a big, throbbing, headache. Burst pipes are a common cause of property damage during cold snaps, and they can result in thousands of dollars of damage. As with most areas of life, the best cure is prevention! So how do you keep your pipes from freezing?

 

Don’t Leave Your Plumbing Out in the Cold This Winter

The good news: preventing frozen pipes is easy - and it doesn’t cost a fortune. Win-win! Another check in the W column: when you are proactive in keeping your pipes safe from winter temperatures, you can avoid expensive repairs. The cost of fixing burst pipes can stretch upwards of $5000, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety. You will also help ensure you don’t lose access to water for drinking, cooking, bathing, etc.

So, how do you do it:

  1. Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This allows warm air to circulate around your pipes. If you keep cleaning chemicals or other hazardous materials there, be sure to put them up and out of the way of children and pets.
  2. Don’t be afraid to drip. During cold stretches, let your water drip a bit (either warm or cold). A trickle helps prevent freezing.
  3. Keep your thermostat at the same temperature at night. You may have to sacrifice a few dollars on your heating bill, but it’s worth it if it keeps your water flowing and your pipes intact. Don’t dial the thermostat back at night when the temperature plunges.
    And, if you’re not going to be home for an extended period, set the thermostat at no less than 55℉.
  4. Consider heating tape. For pipes that are easily accessible, you can apply heating tape. One option is tape that turns on and off when it senses heat is needed; the other plugs in when you think you’re most at risk for issues. The flip side of this is that, like space heaters, they can be risky. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  5. Keep your exterior doors, including the garage, closed during the winter. Even if they’re not around the plumbing, these doors still allow cold air in to circulate.

There are also some more extensive steps you can take:

  • Don’t assume your pipes won’t freeze! We know what you’re thinking: North Carolina doesn’t get that cold. At least not compared to our northern neighbors. But pipes can be even more vulnerable to freezing because they may not be properly insulated.
  • Add insulation to your basement, attic, and crawl spaces. Insulation can cost as little as 50 cents per linear foot, and it provides an excellent return on investment. A few hundred dollars can save you a few thousand - and it’ll prep your home for years of warmth. You’ll also see savings on your heating bill (and your cooling bill in the summer!).
  • Seal up drafts, cracks, and openings. Feeling the breeze? Filling gaps with caulking, weather stripping, and other insulative materials protects pipes. Again, it’ll prevent heat loss - and sticker shock when you get your utility bill.

What If Your Pipes Freeze?

Uh oh. You get up in the morning, regretfully crawling out of your warm cocoon of blankets, and turn on the tap. Nothing comes out. What do you do?

  • Turn on the faucets and leave them on.
  • Call Action Service Company for help!
  • Do not try to thaw the pipe with a torch or open flame. Did you know that frozen pipes are a major cause of structural fires? Don’t risk it.
  • If you want, use a hair dryer on “warm” to try and thaw the pipe. Start close to the faucet and work your way out.
  • If pipes have burst and you have flooding, turn off your water valve. Do not touch any electrical appliances in the area. Call for help immediately. This can be a dangerous situation.

It can be difficult to find the precise location of a freeze and to resolve it safely and effectively; to prevent further damage and costly repair bills, call an experienced, certified plumber.

Are you ready for winter? Are your pipes? Taking some simple steps can save you time, money, and hassle! Contact Action Service Company for help with frozen pipes in Statesville, NC.