How to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter
Winter can be a rough time for many reasons, and most people try to prepare ahead of time. However, one thing that can become forgotten when making these change-of-the-season preparations: water pipes. They may not seem like the kind of thing you need to worry about, but winter can be hard on them, causing damage like broken pipes and subsequent flooding.
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent winter from making your pipes freeze or cause some other kind of damage. Here are some simple things you can do to prepare for winter and keep your pipes from freezing.
Bump Up the Thermostat
Bumping up the thermostat is one of the easiest ways to prevent your pipes from freezing, especially if it’s not currently occupied. It may cost a little more, but that extra bit of heat will spread throughout the subfloors, basement, attic, and so on may just rescue your pipes this winter.
Let the Faucets Drip
While it’s not recommended to leave the water running all the time, this is a solid option to prevent frozen pipes in a scenario like a heating outage or an unexpectedly brutal cold snap. When your faucets are off, the water is sitting still in them, making it more likely that they’ll freeze. Yet moving water resists freezing at the same temperatures, which is why ponds freeze over while streams and rivers stay flowing. Just a small drip can mean the difference between frozen pipes and ones that stay flowing.
Remove any Outdoor Water Attachments that Lead Inside
The temperature can drop unexpectedly in the winter, so having water attachments outside can be a problem. The most common example of this that you’ll see is a garden hose or a spigot. By leaving these attached, you leave water trapped inside. When this water freezes, it expands, creating increased pressure that can shatter your fixture. Fortunately, the temporary removal of these outdoor attachments is quick and easy.
Insulation is the key component to keeping winter and its nasty side effects away from where it doesn’t belong. This is especially true when it comes to your pipes. Certain materials work wonders to keep the outside temperatures from affecting the pipes, making the other measures you take much more effective. The installation of this insulation is relatively simple, but you should always research to make sure you do it right, or hire a professional.
What to do When your Pipes Freeze Over
Winter is here, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The nights are longer, and they bring a drop in temperature with them. As the weather gets increasingly frigid, the rush to prepare your home against the cold becomes more urgent. Because of this, it’s understandable that you may forget things like taking steps to prevent your pipes from freezing. Even if you did take all the proper steps, things like power outages or abrupt cold snaps may make all your preparations useless.
When your pipes freeze over, the risk of serious damage to them increases the longer they go untreated. Because of this, you must fix the issue and get them flowing again as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to do if your pipes freeze over.
Crank up the Heat
This is the most effective way to revive frozen pipes, not just prevent them. You don’t have to turn it up ridiculously high, and you only have to leave it turned up until you get the water running again. Don’t forget to keep the heat moving around with fans, because this will make it reach your pipes more efficiently.
Open the Cabinets, Close the Windows
While it may seem obvious that having poorly sealed windows would make your home colder, it’s not something that everyone realizes is an issue right away. If your pipes freeze over and you find that turning up the heat isn’t helping much, check to make sure that all of the windows and doors on your home are tightly sealed. And make sure to open up your cabinets, closets, and small storage places to improve airflow and make it easier for the heat to get to your pipes. Keeping that heat circulating is a must.
Heat the Pipes Manually
If you find that, despite your best efforts, none of the previous suggestions have worked, it’s time to take things into your own hands. What’s important is that the pipes get heated gradually and just a little at a time. A rapid and extreme change in temperature can cause a whole new issue. Warm some towels and wrap your pipes in them, to start with. Alternatively, you can use a hairdryer and very carefully warm the frozen sections of your pipes.
For help recovering from burst pipes or other forms of water damage, contact AdvantaClean. We have the tech and expertise to help you put your home back into tip-top shape after mold, water, storm, and other forms of damage.