Generally, pipes that are exposed to frigid outdoor temperatures freeze more readily—such as hose bibs, swimming pool lines and water sprinkler lines. Pipes that run along exterior walls in your home with minimal insulation also tend to freeze more easily.
Regardless of where they are located, frozen pipes can carry significant consequences—including property damage from your pipes bursting, flooding and the potential for a disruption in water supply. With this in mind, here’s what you can do keep your pipes from freezing when temperatures drop.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
- If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight.
- Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
- If you’re away, have a friend, relative or neighbor regularly check your property to ensure that the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.
- Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
- Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
- Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
- Protect your pipes. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or newspaper or fabric might also work.
- Seal any leaks with caulk or insulation.
- Disconnect outdoor items such as hoses and faucets. Shut off these items completely using an indoor valve and allow the excess water to drain out.
- Trickle a little water out of your faucets periodically to keep water moving within the pipes.
- Keep your garage door closed if there is a water supply in there.
- Do not set your thermostat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit when going on vacation. Ask someone to periodically check the temperature in your home while you are away.
How to Respond to Frozen Pipes
If you turn on a faucet and no water or only a trickle comes out, your pipes may be frozen. Turn off the main water valve and keep the faucet on. Apply heat to the pipe by using an electric heating pad, hair dryer or portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipe in towels soaked in hot water. You should apply heat until pipes are thawed, and slowly turn the water back on and water pressure restores. Check for leaks or cracks in your pipes. If this does not solve the problem, contact a licensed plumber to inspect your pipes.
For additional information, check out these blogs on how to prepare your vehicle for harsh winter weather. Click here for 4 Tips to Avoid an Insurance Claim This Winter and Facts You Need to Know About Winterizing Your Car.