When water freezes it expands. When this occurs pipes are likely to burst which can mean disaster for your home or business. Rarely, the best outcome from frozen pipes is the loss of water. More likely, once pipes freeze they split and burst – causing severe flood damage.
Water loss is a headache. Flood damage is a disaster. The best way to avoid the problem is prevention. A few easy tips can prepare your water pipes for the frigid weather to come.
6 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you’ve heard the quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” it definitely applies to water pipes. Use these tips to protect your pipes from the winter weather freeze.
1. Keep your temperature up.
It’s not unusual to be away from your home or your business during winter holidays. If outside temperatures drop below freezing, your pipes are at risk. Keeping indoor temperatures above 55 degrees can make all the difference. When you are at home, don’t turn down the heat at night. A consistent temperature will help keep your pipes at a safe temperature.
2. Let the Faucet Trickle.
Fast flowing creeks and rivers don’t usually freeze. When they do, freezing begins where water moves slowly. The same thing applies to the water in your pipes. A slight trickle usually prevents your pipes from freezing. If ice does form, the open faucet will relieve pressure build-up. Water pressure is what usually causes pipes to rupture.
3. Open Cabinet Doors.
Most sinks have cabinets below them that hide water pipes. Open these cabinet doors when temperatures are colder than usual. This action can allow extra heat to reach the pipes. It’s also a good idea to leave all inside doors open to allow heat to circulate freely throughout the building.
4. Insulate Pipes.
Before the temperature gets too cold, consider adding insulation to your exposed pipes. Foam or other types of insulation can be fitted to pipes to help them stay closer to the temperature of the water. Pipes inside walls are often more protected from the existing insulation. Exposed pipes may be found in the basement, attic, or crawl-spaces beneath a home.
5. Seal the Gaps.
Gaps may occur around where pipes come into the building. Cracks and gaps let in cold air which may be restricted to the area where your pipes are most vulnerable. Seal these spaces with foam insulation or caulk. Repairs on both interior and exterior sides of the wall will ensure no cold air can enter the building. If there are cracked or broken windows in the attic or basement, they should be repaired as well.
6. Locate Your Main Water Valve.
Before frigid weather occurs, find your main water shut-off valve. If a disaster occurs, you will need to turn off the water as quickly as possible. When you are out of town, you will need to be able to tell others where to locate the valve.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If your pipes freeze, there are things you can do to get water flowing again. Turning on a faucet to only see a trickle of water can be worrisome but don’t panic. There is likely ice somewhere in the pipes. It’s important to be careful when thawing pipes. If a line has already burst, water can flood the home as pipes thaw. When you know a pipe is broken, shut off the main water valve.
Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe using a hair dryer or heating pad. (Never use an open flame since pipes could be damaged or a fire could result.) Apply heat until full pressure is restored. Don’t forget to check other faucets to ensure more pipes are not frozen.
Sometimes, the most careful planning cannot prepare you for what mother nature has in store. In the event you experience frozen and burst water pipes, it is important to take action immediately. Water damage begins quickly and continues long after the event that caused it. The professionals at Insurcomm will respond immediately to your water emergency to assess the damage and begin necessary repairs. As New England’s leading restoration company, we provide emergency services to commercial and residential clients in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.