As winter arrives and temperatures plummet, we take numerous precautions to combat cold weather-related hazards—such as weatherproofing windows, cleaning the gutters, and shoveling snow from sidewalks.
Although you may forget about your home’s pipes from time to time, it’s also crucial to know how to stop pipes from freezing. When winter weather rolls around, freezing lines become a real, inescapable threat. These frozen pipes can burst, leading to costly water and property damage.
Fortunately, anyone can learn how to prevent frozen pipes as well as how to thaw them.
Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes can spell trouble for you, your home, and your wallet. In considering how to stop pipes from freezing, it’s essential to know that pipes often freeze because of inadequate insulation, sudden outdoor temperature drops, and insufficient indoor heating. When you ignore these three causes of frozen pipes, you may find yourself searching the web for plumbers in Bucks County, PA.
Consider these five top tips for how to stop pipes from freezing this winter:
1. Add Insulation
Exposed pipes in your home are more likely to freeze when temperatures drop—and, as a result—can burst. It’s essential to insulate pipes in your crawl spaces, basements, and attics. Pipe insulation will help protect your pipes, even if where you live doesn’t experience freezing temperatures.
Heat tape can also be used to wrap pipes. Plus, heat cables or pipe sleeves may work well as additional forms of insulation.
2. Remove Outdoor Hoses
While you may have no interest in going outside during the winter, it’s vital to disconnect and drain any hoses from outdoor faucets. You should also close your indoor shut-off valve and drain your spigots.
Why is this tip important for knowing how to prevent frozen pipes? Well, if water freezes within the hose bib piping, there’s a good chance the pipe could burst.
3. Close Garage Doors
Don’t let any unwanted cold air enter your home through your garage. Instead, make sure that your garage doors are closed to prevent pipes from freezing. This tip is especially important if you have water supply lines in your garage.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, open up cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach uninsulated pipes near exterior walls. The more heat these pipes have, the less likely they are to freeze and burst.
4. Stay at One Temperature
Does someone in your house like to control the thermostat? If so, is the temperature constantly going up and down? Keep your thermostat set above 65°F morning and night to prevent frozen pipes.
5. Seal Cracks
Cracks in your home are terrible news for your pipes. Suppose you spot cracks; remember to seal or caulk them to prevent cold air from sneaking in, especially in areas where your plumbing runs through your walls. Double-check your basement, attics, or crawl spaces for potential cracks.
Tips to Thaw Frozen Pipes
We’ve discussed tips for how to prevent frozen pipes, but what if your pipes are already frozen? Before you start panicking about bursts and potential water damage, remember these tips to help thaw the pipes in your home:
- Apply heat: Try applying heat (such as an electric heating pad) to the section of pipe you believe to be frozen. You can also use hair dryers or towels soaked in hot water, but remember safety first!
- Ditch open flames: While it may be tempting, never use open flames (such as blowtorches) to thaw your pipes; this is a potential fire hazard.
- Turn on the faucets: One reason frozen pipes burst is due to increased pressure inside the pipe. Turn the tap on to relieve the pressure and help the melted ice find an escape route.
- Call a professional: If you suspect a frozen pipe, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumber to assess and fix the problem.
The Bottom Line
With the arrival of winter, frozen pipes are always an unfortunate possibility. While there are tips for how to prevent frozen pipes, you still may find yourself facing down a frozen water pipe—and worse, a potential burst.
At Dilling, we understand the dangers and problems frozen pipes can cause for homeowners. Our expert plumbers are ready to tackle your plumbing needs and help you keep your lines in top shape. We know how to stop pipes from freezing—and what to do when the freezing has already occurred.
Call Dilling for plumbing repairs in Bucks County, PA. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment with us today!