Frozen Pipes

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

Last week, we discussed some tips on keeping your home protected during the winter.  We’re in mid-February which we all know means winter is going to hang on for at least another couple of weeks and typically, this time of the year is our coldest time.  One of the topics we discussed was how to prevent frozen pipes.  This is a huge topic for us and we felt that it needed to be addressed in a post of its own.

Leave Faucets Open

We cannot stress enough how important it is to leave faucets open when the temperatures dip below freezing especially if it’s for an extended period of time, but do you know how many faucets to leave open or which faucets are most effective to leave open to prevent freezing pipes? The experts say that leaving one sink open is usually good enough to keep water flowing through your pipes.  Usually, you will want to keep the sink that is the farthest away from where water comes in.  For example, if you know that water comes in through the front of your home and you have a bathroom sink that’s in the very back of the house, you will want to keep that sink open so that water is flowing through all of the pipes on the underside of the house.

Insulate Your Pipes

If you have pipes that are in areas that are not exposed to the wonderful invention called a heater, we recommend insulating those pipes.  Examples of these pipes would be any pipes that are in your attic or basement (before you give me a crazy look, there are some houses in our area that have basements!) or are in your garage (think exposed sink pipes).  If you have pipes outdoors that are exposed, we definitely recommend insulating these!

Do’s and Don’t’s

If your pipes do end up freezing, here are some things that you should do as well as somethings you should NOT do:

  • Keep the faucet open. Even though the pipe has frozen and there’s not water dripping, be sure to keep the faucet open.  As the frozen area starts to thaw, water will flow and running water will help melt the ice that is in the pipe.
  • Be patient and don’t try to thaw the pipe yourself. We’ve seen some people get really creative in trying to thaw a pipe themselves.  Some have used the tried and failed method of a hair dyer while others have gotten an electric heating pad or heated blanket and wrapped them around the pipes.  Please, don’t do this.  I’ll stress it again, be patient and wait for the pipe to thaw naturally as the temperatures warm up.
  • Use a portable heater in hard to reach places. We all have those places in our homes where it just doesn’t get warm enough even with the heater cranked up to 100.  In those hard to reach bathrooms or poorly vented areas where plumbing is located, we recommend using a portable heater in the room (not directly on the pipe) to warm up the room.  Just don’t get the heater near anything flammable.
  • DO NOT – I repeat, DO NOT – use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other open flame device to try and thaw your pipes. Again, be patient and let the pipes thaw naturally.

If your pipes do freeze, we’re always here to help in getting your pipes unfrozen or assisting with burst pipes.  Give us a call today!