How To Keep Your Water Pipes From Freezing

When temperatures drop to freezing, many people experience frozen pipes in their homes. Furthermore, a cracked pipe can lose up to 250 gallons of water each day causing several problems including flooding, structural damage and mold growth. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent these disasters, and the best tips are described below.

Frozen Pipes

Prior to Cold Weather

Before cold weather even hits, make sure you insulate all of your pipes. Exposed pipes are quite vulnerable to freezing. This is important no matter where you live. You can use thermostatically-controlled heating cables or heat tape to wrap your pipes, but make sure you follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.

You will also want to check for any cold air leaks around such things as dryer vents, wiring and pipes. Use caulking or insulation to fill in any holes and keep the cold air outdoors. Finally, disconnect all garden hoses and shut off any water supply leading to faucets outdoors.

When Cold Weather Hits

Even with the best of precautions, extremely cold weather can still damage your water pipes. When temperatures drop to freezing, leave one of the faucets in your home trickling. This will keep the water in motion and stop it from freezing. Additionally, leave your thermostat on a constant temperature at all times.

While you may be tempted to turn your heat down just before bed, temperatures could drop to freezing overnight and freeze your pipes. If it gets particularly cold, opening cabinet doors under sinks will allow heat to get to your pipes and help prevent them from freezing.

Before Going on a Vacation

Many people choose to schedule their vacations during the winter either to escape the cold weather or to visit friends and family during the holidays. Unfortunately, they often give little thought to their water pipes before leaving. To help prevent your pipes from freezing while you are gone, make sure you take heed of the following tips.

  • Set Your Thermostat at About 55 or 60 and Leave Cabinet Doors Open
  • Ask Someone to Check Your Home Daily
  • Shut Off Your Water System and Drain It

Frozen Pipes

If your pipes freeze anyway despite all of your preventative measures, do not panic. Never try to thaw your pipes using a torch or other type of open flame. You may be able to thaw your pipes using a hair dryer. However, make sure you start close to your faucet and work back towards the colder sections of pipes.

In this way, the pipes will thaw slowly and will be less apt to burst. If your pipes have already burst, you will need to turn off your water supply at the main shutoff valve. In this case, you will want to call a plumber as soon as possible. Do not use any electrical appliances where there is flooding.

Extremely cold weather can play havoc on your water pipes, especially if you are not prepared. However, there are some steps you can take to prevent any of your pipes from freezing. When you follow the above useful tips, your plumbing system should function properly even during the coldest months of the year.

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Pablo is a plumber who has encountered many different plumbing issues. He writes posts on tips to prevent pipes from freezing because frozen pipes cause homeowners many problems every year. He works for Texas Power Plumbing in Houston.

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