Freezing Pipes – How to Avoid Them During Winter
Among the many winter hazards around our homes, freezing pipes and the resulting damage that can occur are potential dangers throughout the colder months, though you are not totally at the mercy of mother nature once subzero temperatures begin to set in. To help protect yourself and your home, here are a few ways to prevent pipes from freezing. This also helps you to save thousands of dollars worth of damage.
There are numerous methods to keep your pipes warm in the winter that will prevent them from freezing. Insulating pipes in attics or crawl spaces is a simple measure to take. This is true even if you live in areas where the winters aren’t extremely cold. Depending on your home’s construction and location, there are a variety of ways to insulate pipes. These include such methods as pipe insulation, heat tape, or heat cables.
Additionally, pay attention to any cracks in your home that can let cold air in. You should especially consider places where pipes run from inside to outside. Seal these cracks with calk to limit potential freezing and damage. Also, remember to detach any outside garden hoses before winter sets in, This helps you to minimize possible damage to those pipes as well.
Another common way people prevent pipes from freezing is to allow a small drip from faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room to keep water flowing through the pipes and prevent freezing from lack of use. As a further measure, keeping your house around 65 degrees is a good level to ensure your pipes don’t freeze.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
You may see a small trickle of water leaving the faucet when turned on, and your pipes have frozen. In such a case, begin by checking all water lines and noticing where areas are particularly cold. Inspect those spots to make sure no breakage has occurred, then try to thaw pipes immediately.
As a reminder, you should never use an open flame to try to thaw frozen pipes. This can cause even more damage and poses a potential fire hazard. Plus, if you notice any breakages in the water lines or you are unable to thaw the pipes after trying the following tactics, you should contact a trained plumber to help you before further damage occurs.
When an exposed pipe is frozen, immediately turn on the faucet connected to it. This will help quicken the thawing process. There are a few ways to thaw frozen pipes, such as directing a hairdryer at the area, wrapping a heating pad or warm and damp towel around the pipe, or directing a space heater at the frozen area.
For enclosed pipes, like those hidden in the walls, the process is different and can be more complex. Try turning up the thermostat in your home, which can aid the thawing process. Also, you may have to cut out a section of the wall to follow the above steps for thawing an exposed pipe.
No matter if your home has a plastic or metal water lines, or what type of climate you live in, houses in all regions are susceptible to freezing pipes during the winter months. With the above tactics, you can help protect your pipes and your home in the winter, and are better equipped to thaw pipes should freezing occur.
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Bailey Schramm is a writer from Happy Writers, Co.