One of the worst — and most expensive — problems homeowners fear is frozen and burst pipes. Here’s what you need to know, including how you can prevent pipes from freezing and how to treat frozen ones.
Are All Pipes at Risk for Freezing?
No. Pay special attention to exposed pipes when temperatures drop into the 20s.
These include pipes in the crawlspace under your house and pipes in the basement, attic and on exterior walls.
What You Can Do to Protect Pipes
Insulating exposed pipes is the best step to prevent freezing. Foam pipe insulation is inexpensive and easy to install.
It’s also a good idea to pick up insulated covers to protect your outdoor hose bibs/spigots.
Another key tip is to drip kitchen and bathroom faucets. This not only keeps water moving through the pipes but also relieves built-up water pressure in the pipes if they should freeze.
Also open cabinet doors to allow indoor heat to circulate, and keep the garage door closed.
And If They Still Freeze…?
First, locate the main water valve and shut it off.
Then, open the faucet the frozen pipe runs to. This allows water flow and will relieve any built-up pressure.
Next, heat the pipe (use a hairdryer, heat lamp or portable space heater); start from the interior faucet end and work your way toward the colder end of the pipe.
Finally, check for leaks. After pipes have thawed, turn off all water to faucets and the icemaker, and monitor the water meter for any unseen leaks.