Frozen pipes are a common problem in the winter. In addition to clogs, they can lead to broken fixtures, water damage, and costly plumbing repairs. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes, as well as to avoid damaged plumbing if they do freeze.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Always keep your heat on in the winter, even if you’re away from home on vacation, and let the faucets drip. Set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re away to prevent frozen pipes. Allowing the faucets to run won’t prevent freezing, but it can slow the process.
Adding insulation to your home and pipes is another way to keep your water flowing. Make sure your basement and attic are well insulated. If you have pipes near exterior walls, insulate those as well with thick pieces of foam or fiberglass sleeves. If that’s still not enough, install electric heat tape.
Seal any drafts in your home, particularly in the basement or attic. Any windows in these areas should also seal tightly to prevent heat from escaping. For exterior fixtures, install anti-freeze faucets, which prevent the water from being exposed to extreme temperatures.
What to Do if a Pipe Freezes
Frozen plumbing may burst, causing significant water damage and costly plumbing repairs. Warm the pipe to mitigate this risk. Start by opening all the faucets in your house. Then, remove any insulation on the frozen pipe and apply heat. A hairdryer, electric heating pad, and small space heaters all work well. You can also use a towel soaked in hot water.
When applying heat, start with the faucet open and heat the end closest to the fixture. Then, work your way toward the coldest section of the pipe. If the pipe is still frozen, call a plumber.
Frozen and broken pipes in the middle of winter require emergency plumbing work, which is why Do It Right Plumbing Sewer & Drain Services in Minneapolis, MN, is available seven days a week. Call them for all your plumbing repair needs at (612) 388-8524. For more information about their licensed and insured plumbers and services, visit their website, or like their Facebook page for tips.