This year in particular has been very difficult for many with the extreme cold to date. One issue that we are seeing with so many people, is freezing pipes in their homes. Freezing pipes should always be taken seriously, as they are not only messy, but they can be very costly. Having dealt with a few different incidents of frozen pipes this year, I'd like to share some helpful preventative tips, so hopefully you can get ahead of the situation and prevent it all together.
Check your insulation
Wherever you have pipes on an exterior wall or crawlspace, double and triple check to be sure you have plenty of insulation. Water lines should have their own pipe insulation around them, and the space that they are in should also be insulated properly. Check to be sure that no draft is entering the space, as that can cause things to freeze even faster.
When in doubt, leave the water on
If you have any doubts as to whether or not it is too cold at night, leave the water running lightly at the faucets. Even a light trickle can help prevent pipes from freezing, as it is much harder for water to freeze when it is flowing.
The pipes are frozen, now what?
If you do find yourself in a situation where your pipes have already frozen, be very careful with your next steps.
- When the water in the pipes freezes, it expands and can cause cracks and breaks in the lines and fittings. Check the lines and fittings for cracks or breaks, and if you're not sure, it is always best to turn off the water supply to prevent a flood when things warm up.
- One of the first things to try, is simply turning on the faucets to allow water to flow when possible
- Once you begin to warm the space, do so slowly, and avoid any sources of heat with an open flame
* I should note that if you do find yourself with frozen pipes at home, the safest approach is to call a licensed plumber who knows how to safely and properly handle the situation