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Preventing and Dealing with Frozen Pipes

A broken pipe is not only frustrating, but it can cost you a lot if not fixed in a timely fashion. In this post check out some top tips from a kitchen showroom company, that will help you prevent your pipes from freezing during the colder months.

Allow the Taps to Drip

Slightly opening the faucets relives the pressure on the water system which in turn reduces the chances of the pipes freezing. You can choose to leave only one faucet dripping, but ensure that it is in an ideal location. So, if you know where the water comes into your home, open the furthest faucet to ensure that the water runs through the whole system.

Keep the Heat On

If you are going to be away from your house for an extended period, you’ll want to ensure that the temperature inside is not less than 55 degrees in order to avoid freezing. If you have a smart thermostat, this can be easy to implement and monitor through a smartphone application.

Apply Heating Tape

An electric tape applied directly to the pipes can usually prevent them from freezing.

Seal Up Holes and Cracks

You should inspect your home for cracks and holes where cold air could make its way in and around the pipes.

Add Extra Insulation

Fibreglass sleeves or foam rubber can help insulate your pipes from the cold. This form of insulation is particularly essential for pipes located in basements and attics.

The Red Cross ideally suggests doing the following to avoid the frustrating mess that results from frozen pipes.

  1. Use a pipe sleeve or heat tape to protect any water pipes exposed to the weather. Even DIY newspaper wrap can help insulate the pipes to some extent.
  2. Drain and store the hoses you use outdoors and ensure that you have closed the inside valves. Also, ensure that you disconnect the hoses and leave the outside valve open to give the remaining water some expansion space without breaking the pipe.
  3. Ensure that the garage doors are always closed if there are water pipes inside.
  4. Check around your home for areas where water pipes travel in unheated regions. Look in the crawl space, garage, basement, bathroom and kitchen cabinets as well as the attic. Both cold and hot water pipes in these places should be insulated.
  5. Ensure that you keep the thermostat set at a constant temperature both at night and during the day.
  6. If the weather is freezing outside, allow cold water from exposed pipes to drip from the faucet. Allowing water to drip, even in the slightest form prevents the pipes from freezing.

If you turn on the faucets and water does not come out, chances are you have a frozen pipe. If this happens, leave the faucets on and contact a professional plumber. The extra pressure within the pipes causes them to burst and so if you have a frozen pipe, leave the faucets on and turn off the main shut-off valve.

Tips for Thawing Frozen Pipes

  1. Apply heat to the pipes section using a heating pad, an electric dryer, or by covering the pipe with a towel drenched in hot water. Avoid using kerosene or propane heater, blowtorch or any other open flame gadget.
  2. Keep one of the faucets open, particularly the one furthest from the water source. As you treat the frozen section, water will start to melt and flow through the frozen region. Running water through the pipe helps melt any ice inside. Also, check all other faucets in the house to find out if there are other frozen pipes.
  3. Seal any cracks or spaces that allow cold air into the house, particularly where water pipes are located. This is usually an issue around dryer vents, pipes, and electrical wiring.
  4. Apply heat until normal water pressure is restored. If you can’t locate the frozen region or are unable to access, or cannot thaw the frozen pipe, contact a professional local plumber.

Frozen pipes, if left unattended, tend to burst due to the high pressure inside and this can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the damage. So ensure you take these precautions and remediation during winter.