Preventing Frozen Pipes

Growing up in Montana freezing pipes were something we ran into quite frequently. If you live in an area with cold winters the possibility of your pipes freezing is high. The damage caused by frozen pipes can be devastating. Let’s talk about a few ways to keep your pipes from freezing and how to go about thawing frozen water pipes if they do happen to freeze.

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Preventing Frozen Pipes

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines. Be sure to follow manufacture and installer directions and guidelines.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. While you may not expect it to, a garden hose can cause unbelievable amounts of damage if it freezes while attached to your house. Make sure to keep the outside valve open so that any water still in the pipe can expand without causing it to break.
  • Exposed pipes in your basement rarely run the risk of freezing because they are typically in a heated portion of the house, but pipes in unheated areas such as crawl spaces, attics, or the garage are at risk. Consider inexpensive foam pipe insulation or heat tape.
  • For a quick-fix in an area that rarely freezes, a 1/4” of newspaper can provide protection from the cold.

To Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you turn on your pipes and very little to no water comes out, you can bet your pipes are frozen. Here is how to take care of a frozen pipe.

  • Start by turning on the hot water. Sometimes running hot water through the pipe is enough to melt the frozen section. If you can tell where the main frozen section is, wrap a towel or blanket around it to concentrate the heat.
  • Another popular way to thaw pipes is with a hair dryer, heat lamp, or space heater. Be careful of flammable materials that may be around the pipe.
  • Apply heat until the water pressure is restored. Also be sure to leave the faucet open while heating the pipes so the melting water can flow out freely.

Cold Weather Preventative Action
If there is a sudden cold spell here are a few things to help prevent your pipes from freezing.

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. This will help keep your house warmer and your heating bill lower too.
  • If it is extremely cold out, let water drip from the faucets with pipes most exposed. A little extra on your water bill can save you a lot in frozen pipe damage.
  • Keep your house the same temperature (or warmer) at night as you do during the day.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.

Any questions or additional tips? Share them below in the comments!

Melanie Lovejoy
College Works Painting 
mlovejoy@nsgmail.com

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