What to Do When Pipes Freeze: Some Fast Advice to Avert Catastrophe

what to do when pipes freeze

Do you live in a region with colder winters? Have you ever wondered if your pipes will freeze?

A burst pipe can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs. Don’t forget that you will need to pay for cleanup and floor replacement.

Interior rooms that are not heated are the most likely to freeze. This includes basements, attics, and garages.

You may be wondering what to do when pipes freeze to prevent them from bursting.

Here are some ideas that could save you big money in the long run.

1. Heat Up Cold Areas

Pipes usually freeze when the temperature gets below 20 degrees. The pipes that freeze and burst are often located near an outside door or window.

Be sure to direct heat toward those areas of the home, especially on days when the weather is extremely cold. Use space heaters, or keep doors open so air will circulate and the room won’t become frigid. Kitchens and bathrooms are other places that should be getting at least some heat to prevent pipe damage.

It also helps to keep cabinet and closet doors open so that the heat from the rest of the house can keep the pipes in storage areas from freezing. 

2. Use Insulation

Insulation in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces to keep temperatures warmer. You can also seal cracks around your windows and doors to prevent your room from becoming too cold. Use caulk or spray foam insulation.

Your pipes can also get fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to lower the chances of freezing. This is a great solution for pipes that are exposed, although it could get expensive if you need to go inside the walls.

3. Install Heating Tape

Unlike insulation, the heating tape can apply heat directly to a pipe during colder weather. One type of heating tape needs to get plugged in, and the other can turn on and off when it senses heat is needed.

Heating tape is an excellent solution for smaller sections of pipe that exposed and at high risk for freezing. It is important to follow directions exactly to prevent accidents.

4. Get Drippy

If you have a pipe that is exposed or are having a particularly cold winter, you can open the faucet fed by that pipe a little so that it drips slightly.

Letting the faucet open will prevent pressure from building up and the pipe from bursting. In fact, pipe bursts actually occur because of the pressure that occurs between the pipe itself and the faucet.

If the faucet you open serves both hot and cold pipes, open both taps slightly. You can set a single-handled faucet to warm.

5. Disconnect Your Hose

If you leave your hose attached to your faucet year-round, water will not be able to drain out of the bib and can break the device. Disconnect your hose from the outside faucet for healthy plumbing.

Know What To Do When Pipes Freeze

Even if you take precautionary measures, it is possible for pipes to freeze. You can take action to prevent the dreaded bursting from taking over.

If you turn your faucet on a particularly cold day and no water comes out, there is a good chance your pipes are frozen. You may also notice frost on the pipe, or strange smells coming from your faucet or drain.

If your pipe gets frozen, try turning on the faucet to run water through the pipe, even if it is cold. 

You can also provide heat to the frozen section of the pipe using a hairdryer or portable space heater. The pipes can also get wrapped in towels soaked in hot water.

After you have applied heat, check your faucets to see if water pressure has been restored. If it hasn’t, it may be time to call a licensed plumber.

Know What To Do When Pipes Burst 

If your pipes burst, you will notice water around the burst pipe that can quickly fill up a room. You will need to shut off the main water supply to prevent further flooding. 

Everyone should know how to shut off the main water valve. If you don’t, your plumber will, although you may pay more to have someone visit your house in a pinch.

Some companies will help you mitigate flood damage, which may include carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and hardwood floor cleaning. Otherwise, you will need to call individual companies for different services.

Some insurance policies will cover flood damage caused by a natural event such as extreme temperatures, but others may not. Make sure you find out exactly what is covered before you begin making calls, and save all your receipts.

Remember that bursting pipes will cause damage to more than just your floor. Your walls, furniture, and precious belongings could all be at risk.

It is best to take preventative measures so your pipes will not freeze or burst. If they do, however, water damage restoration services, as well as a reliable insurance agent, can help you pick up the pieces.

Make Peace With Your Pipes

Insulation, heating tape, and keeping your house heated in all areas can prevent a frozen pipe.

Now that you know what to do when pipes freeze, however, you can prevent them from bursting if you catch them in time. If your pipe does burst, call a trusted plumber and cleaning company right away to keep damage to a minimum.

For more information on water damage mitigation, contact us today.

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