Easy Ways to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are more than a nuisance. A frozen pipe can burst and lead to water damage, leaving you without water until it’s repaired. Even if you live in a normally warm climate, one unusually cold night can lead to disaster if you’re not prepared. Here’s how you can keep the water flowing safely in your home.
Protect exposed pipes.
Any pipes in unheated spaces, like a garage or crawlspace, could be at risk. Look around your home for exposed pipes and cover them with pipe insulation. Be sure to keep doors closed to keep those spaces as warm as possible.
Consider heat tape.
A variety of flexible electric heating tape and cable products are available that can be wrapped around pipes underneath the insulation. These provide an added measure of security to stop pipes from freezing and are particularly useful in very cold climates. You can also use a reflector heat lamp to keep unheated spaces warm.
Drip, drip, drip.
When water is flowing, it freezes more slowly. By leaving a faucet open at a slow trickle, you can help keep your water supply pipe from freezing. This is very helpful if your power or heat goes out.
Disconnect hoses, drain supply lines and switch off valves.
If you have a pool or sprinkler system, you should prepare for cold weather by cutting off the water supply and draining all the water from the system. If there’s no water in the pipes, there’s nothing to freeze. This goes for your garden hose, as well. Remember to cover your hose spigot, too.
If a pipe does freeze, proceed with caution.
The first thing to do if you discover that you’ve got a frozen pipe is to switch off your home’s main water supply, if you can. If you can identify the frozen pipe, you can try to thaw it gently by heating the area around the ice with a hairdryer set on low, or with a heat lamp. If you notice water coming from the pipe as it thaws, stop what you’re doing and call a plumber immediately.
If your pipes freeze repeatedly, move them.
Some pipes have chronic freezing problems and cannot be effectively insulated or heated. If a pipe freezes over and over again, contact a plumber and ask about rerouting it through a warmer space.
American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information.
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