Donâ€™t Be Caught Off Guard
Subfreezing temperatures can cause extensive problems for an unprepared homeowner. If your pipes have already frozen, leaks can spring up as thawing occurs. Frozen pipes and leaks can happen in the walls, under the house, or under the sinks inside the house.Â All of your pipes must be cared for, not just the ones that are exposed outside.
How to Prevent Freezing Pipes
All pipes should be wrapped and insulated. The pre-slit pipe wrap insulation is one of the easiest to install.Â It fits over your pipes and is to be taped down so that it stays in place.Â These prefabricated pipe wraps are made by a variety of companies. You can also use the traditional rolls of insulation and wrap the pipes yourself.Â As long as the pipes are covered before they are frozen, the insulation should protect the pipes from freezing.
If your house has a crawl space beneath it, you should check to make sure that any vents or entryways are closed so that a direct current of cold air is not invading your pipesâ€™ territory.Â If your water heater is in a closet with outdoor access, make sure that those pipes are insulated as well. Inside pipes should be insulated also.
Inside your home, on the coldest of days, opening your cabinet doors beneath your sinks is a good idea. This will allow heat to flow around the pipes. Putting lit light bulbs underneath your home near your pipe network is a good way to help prevent freezing.Â Light bulbs produce heat and will combat the freezing temperatures. You can purchase a cord with a bulb socket on it.Â Some of these cords are long and have multiple bulb sockets. They were originally designed for outdoor lighting for parties, but you can re-purpose these into a pipe-heating mechanism.Â It is well worth the effort to crawl under your home and place these lamps near your pipe network.
Outdoor spigots should not be used during winter. These are prime targets for freezing. Make sure that you drain these well. Wrap them with extra insulation to prevent damage.
How to Thaw
Despite your best efforts to prevent freezing, sometimes freezing happens.Â If this happens to your pipes, be sure to use either a hair dryer or a light bulb to defrost them. Both will heat the pipe with warmth and neither will melt the pipe. You should consider turning the water off at the main meter before attempting to defrost the pipe. If a leak occurs, this will minimize the amount of water available to make a mess. If the pipe bursts or springs a leak, it is a great idea to contact a plumber immediately.