Frozen and burst pipes can cause costly water damage. Follow the tips below to find out how to prevent your pipes from freezing and how to react in the event that they do.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
There are three primary causes of frozen pipes:
1) Quick drops in temperature
2) Poor insulation
3) Thermostats set too low.
Take these steps to prevent your pipes from freezing:
- Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and attics. Exposed pipes are the most susceptible to freezing. *Tip: the more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
- You can also use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions very carefully. These products can be dangerous if not installed properly.
- Seal any and all leaks that may be allowing cold air inside near your pipes. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. In very severe cold, even a very tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause pipes to freeze.
- Before freezing temperatures set in, disconnect all garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from the pipes that lead to outside faucets. This reduces the risk of the short span of pipe just inside the house freezing.
If Your Pipes Do Freeze
What should you do if your pipes do freeze?
The first step is… DON’T PANIC! Frozen pipes do not always burst.
Do the following:
- If no water comes out of your faucets when you turn them on, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber (if you need a recommendation, please feel free to contact us, we work with a number of reliable, professional and reasonably priced plumbers).
- Do not use electrically operated items and/or appliances in areas of standing water. This is very dangerous, and you could be electrocuted.
- No matter what, do not try to thaw frozen pipes with a torch or other open flame because it creates a huge fire hazard. A broken pipe and some water damage is definitely preferable to burning your house down!
- Try thawing the pipe out using the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming it as close to the faucet as possible, and work your way toward the coldest section of the pipe.
If your pipes have already burst:
- Turn off the water at the main shutoff valve inside your home or office.
- Leave the water faucets turned on.
- Make sure that everyone who will be in the home or building knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
- Call a certified restoration company to begin the mitigation services ASAP.
- Fast response is crucial.
- The mitigation process must begin right away to help prevent secondary damage.