Itâ€™s every homeownerâ€™s nightmare: pipes that freeze and then break, flooding the house and causing thousands of dollars in damage. The Piedmont has already had its first overnight freeze of the season; can the first major cold snap be far behind?
Cold snapsâ€”several days in a row of very cold weatherâ€”can cause the water in your pipes to freeze. However, there are several things homeowners can do to prevent freezing. Even if the pipes do freeze, it is possible to thaw them before they burst and flood. Read on to learn how you can prevent and treat frozen pipes.
- Keep the air around pipes at least 58 degrees. A slightly higher heating bill is much cheaper than fixing a burst pipe. Investing in extra insulation as well as sealing any gaps in the windows, foundation, or crawlspace can also pay off.
- Insulate pipes in the basement, crawlspace, and exterior walls with foam insulation.
- In extremely cold areas, invest in thermostatically controlled heat tape that automatically comes on when the temperature drops below a certain point. (All heat tapes are not the same. You need to check the product guidelines carefully, use the right heat tape, and install it correctly.)
- Disconnect all garden hoses and shut off the water to all exterior faucets. Cover exterior faucets with foam insulation.
- During cold snaps, keep warm water slowly dripping from interior faucets. It keeps water from freezing and also reduces built-up pressure in the pipes.
- First, cut off the water at the main valve.
- Next, open the tap (or taps) that lead from the frozen pipes.
- Heat the sections of pipes that are frozen using a hair dryer. Make sure that youâ€™re not standing in water as you do this!
- If you canâ€™t reach the pipes with a hair dryer, try wrapping the pipes in towels that have been soaked in hot water.
- NEVER pour boiling water directly on the pipes or try to warm the pipes with a blowtorch; this can cause an explosion!
When all else fails
Call Johns Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, the experts who can fix the pipes and make sure they never burst again.