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Freezing Pipes and Other Cold Weather Tips

woman holding a pot to catch the dripping water from a leak

While spring is somewhere around the corner, we frequently experience cold temperatures at night. It’s a time when pipes may start to thaw, and the refreeze. Burst pipes become a problem. Here are some tips to make sure your home or commercial building are prepared for whatever our weather brings.When temperatures fall below 20°F, water pipes may freeze and possibly burst. This is most likely to occur when insulation around the pipes is deficient. Pipes that are most at-risk are outdoor hose bibs and supply lines, and pipes in unheated interior areas such as attics, basements, crawl spaces, and garages. Here are some steps you can take to avoid frozen pipes:

Avoid Frozen Pipes

  • Purchase pipe insulation at your local hardware store and follow the instructions for wrapping pipes that might be exposed to extreme cold. Home Depot has an excellent tutorial on how to perform this beginner-level task, as well as what to do if you find that you already have frozen pipes.
  • Keep garage doors closed to preserve as much heat as possible.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures.
  • Open the faucet served by exposed pipes and allow a slow drip to flow.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night.
  • If you plan to be away during a particularly cold period, set your thermostat no lower than 55°F.
  • Evaluate the overall insulation quality in the structure, especially attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Add insulation as necessary.

If you notice the water pressure fluctuating or completely inaccessible, frozen pipes are most likely the problem. If a pipe has already burst, you’ll need to turn off the water supply at the main shutoff valve and contact a licensed plumber. If a room is already inundated with water, give us a call!

Thawing Frozen Pipes. But if a frozen pipe is not yet compromised, here are some tips to aid thawing and avoid rupture:

  • Turn the faucet to the “on” position in anticipation of water flow.
  • Apply heat to the affected section. You can use a heating pad, electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or even hot towels. However, never use a blow torch or a kerosene, propane, or open-flame heater – these carry a high risk of fire and/or toxic fume inhalation.
  • Apply heat until water pressure is fully restored.
  • If you cannot locate or access the pipe, or if your efforts to thaw the affected area are unsuccessful, call a licensed plumber.

Our experts here at Restoration 1 are trained to reverse the effects of water damage. Give us a call at 72O-605-2994.