Your Guide to Mitigating and Preventing Frozen Pipes
When a sudden and extreme temperature drop occurs, the risk of freezing pipes increases. As freezing water expands, the pressure inside the affected pipe rises, and the result: a burst pipe and gallons of water let loose behind your walls and ceilings, incurring possibly thousands of dollars in damage to your home, furniture, floors and personal items. But there are preventive measures you can implement to minimize the possibility of pipes freezing when a cold snap occurs:
- Insulate any exposed piping: Wrap pipes in thick foam or fiberglass sleeves, especially pipes that are located closest to the exterior walls, which normally freeze first.
- Install electrical heat tape on vulnerable piping: Apply to piping located in sensitive areas such as crawl spaces and closed rooms.
- Keep heat at a minimum of 55° Fahrenheit: Keep your heat running at this temperature or higher, especially when away from home for extended periods.
- Install anti-freeze faucets to your home: Anti-freeze faucets have long stems that extend through the exterior wall into the house. Water never sits in the portion of piping outside the wall, where it might freeze.
- Seal basement drafts and leaks: Expanding foam can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and is useful to seal gaps made in your basement for phone wires and pipes. Check all windows for possible drafts and make sure they close tightly.
If you do experience frozen pipes, apply heat to the section of pipe using a towel soaked in hot water, an electric heating pad or a hair dryer. AVOID using a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other device using an open flame. Do NOT under any circumstances operate an electrical appliance while standing in water.
If your pipes do burst, immediately shut off the water to prevent further damage. Take the time to label your water shut-offs in advance so you can spot them easily in the event of a pipe burst. Remove standing water with wet vacuums, and use specialty fans and dehumidifiers for drying. Contact Tomasso Bros. to repair the damage and restore the water and if the damage is severe, consider hiring an emergency water-mitigation service for assistance.