With temperatures dropping below -10 over the past week, homeowners should take extra care to ensure they don’t end up with frozen pipes.
Because water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes, the expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the “strength” of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
To keep your home safe this winter here are some offers tips for homeowners to prevent pipes from bursting:
- Open cabinet doors – Keep cabinet doors in both your kitchen and bathroom open to allow warm air to circulate.
- Insulate pipes – Invest in a pipe sleeve or heating tape to provide insulation.
Frequently run water – Allow the faucets to drip lukewarm water in order to minimize freezing.
- During the Summer or Fall look around the home for areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Cover outdoor faucets – Outdoor water faucets are extremely susceptible to freezing. It is best to always unhook water hoses for the winter. Consider covering the faucets with insulated sleeves that can be found at hardware and home improvement stores.
- If the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Turn up the thermostat – If your home is built over a crawl space, turning up your thermostat will increase the air temperature in the crawlspace by projecting heat energy through the floor into the space.
If a pipe does end up freezing, it is important to locate the water valve and cut it off. Though using a blow dryer or additional types of heating methods to thaw out a frozen pipe might help, there is still a potential danger that a professional plumber can adequately address.