How to Prevent & Treat Frozen Pipes

With unrelenting winter weather comes the potential for frozen pipes. To prevent your pipes from freezing, it’s important to take precautionary measures ahead of time. A frozen pipe is more than just a nuisance; in the case that it bursts it can cause extensive and costly damage to your home. As we continue trekking our way through this miserable affair we call winter, make sure to follow these tips on preventing frozen pipes!

Like you, your pipes need comfort and warmth to survive the bitter temperatures. Imagine if you had to live outside with no jacket or blanket of any kind, even if just for a few days, with temperatures reaching no higher than 20 degrees. By the end of it all, you’d be so cold your body probably wouldn’t function all too well. Exposed, non-insulated piping wouldn’t function that well either.

Wrap Your Pipes

It’s best to insulate your pipes well before the temperatures reach freezing. A well-insulated pipe is less likely to freeze and burst. Inspect your home’s piping for exposed and vulnerable areas that could potentially freeze, and wrap them up. We recommend using foam tube insulation, as it’s much more reliable. For basement and attic pipes, you can also use newspaper, since these areas do receive at least some heat. Should the temperatures reach extreme cold, it’s best to use heated tape that’s designed for pipes.

Open Cabinet Doors

You want to circulate all the warm air you can around your pipes. When the outside temperature is particularly rough, simply keeping the doors open can make a significant difference.

Run Water Continuously

Another measure you can take is to keep the faucets running continuously on a lukewarm setting. You don’t need to run the water on full blast by any means; a simple drip will do. You will want to run all your faucets, including those in bathrooms as well as in your kitchen.

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Check on your pipes periodically to prevent further damage from occurring. If part of your pipe has frozen, all might not be lost. You can attempt to thaw a frozen pipe using a variety of methods. First, wrap your pipe in a wet hot towel. Then, using a space heater or a hair dryer, direct heat onto the affected area of the pipe. We DO NOT recommend using a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other type of open flame device.

Begin the thawing process at the area closest to the faucet. If you cannot thaw your pipe, we recommend calling a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

If Your Pipe Bursts

Keep a patch kit on hand in case your pipe bursts. These can be purchased at your local hardware store. A patch kit provides only temporary alleviation; by no means is this a permanent solution! You should always leave repair work to a licensed professional.

You will also want to shut off your water’s main valve. Should the burst occur in a hot water pipe, close the valve on top of your water heater.

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