One of the worst home maintenance disasters you can face during winter is a frozen or burst water pipe. Frigid winter nights can freeze your pipes, bringing you unexpected inconveniences. If not corrected in time, frozen pipes can quickly turn into very expensive ordeals. Pipes in the house usually freeze if not sufficiently insulated or when exposed to icy draughts from the outdoors.
Frozen pipes can also burst, leading to water damage to your home and furniture. The good thing about such disasters is that they are widely preventable if you take the necessary precautions. Here is a look into simple means you can use to save yourself from the damage and aggravation frozen pipes can cause during winter.
Don't let it happen
Your best bet is to prevent pipes from freezing by preparing them before temperatures plummet. Insulating pipes in your attic, kitchen cabinets, garage and crawl spaces as well as any pipes on exterior walls will keep them warm and prevent freezing. Heat tape or foam insulation can offer affordable protection, while caulk insulation can be used to cover vents and any other leaks in your walls, windows and garage door that can let in cold air.
Setting your thermostat too low can also cause your indoor pipes to freeze, so be sure to keep the settings high and to turn on the frost protection thermostat on your boiler. Other simple measures such as keeping water running from your faucets regularly through winter and opening your kitchen cabinets to let warm air reach pipes under the sink will prevent freezing and save you a whole lot of trouble.
If your pipes do freeze
If water starts coming from your faucets in trickles, this could indicate that the pipes are frozen. Try to locate the source of the freeze, especially in exterior walls or in areas where pipes are exposed to the outdoors. To thaw the pipes, try wrapping them with towels dipped in hot water or using a hair dryer or electric heating pad to gradually melt the ice.
Leave taps open as you thaw the pipes, as melting water will prevent further freezing as it trickles out. If your pipes are already burst or you can't locate the frozen areas, call a company like Bill Rhiner's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to give a helping hand. The plumber can also inspect your plumbing for cracked pipes and install extra insulation to pipes in the basement, attic and other areas where freezing is likely to occur.