Don’t let the cold temperatures of winter burst your pipes. By following these simple tips, you’ll not only save yourself the trouble of broken pipes and gushing water, but you’ll also save yourself a lot of money in repair fees.
- Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas. Pipelines in an unheated garage or cold crawl space under the house can freeze; wrap the water pipes before temperatures plummet. Hardware or building supply stores have pipe wrapping materials available.
- Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks. Repair broken windows to keep the cold winter winds outside where they belong.
- Find the master shutoff. The master valve may be near the water heater or washing machine. Make sure everyone in your household knows where it is in case a pipe bursts. Acting fast can prevent flooding and thousands of dollars in repairs.
- Are you worried about pipe freeze? Run a minimal amount of water in a kitchen sink, on nights when the weather forecast calls less than 20 degrees.
- Run a load of laundry during the coldest part of the night. Some models have a timer to schedule run times.
- Some automatic dishwashers have settings to schedule loads. Consider waiting to wash dishes until late into the night.
- A small and steady stream of water will be enough to keep your pipes from freezing, and you can even collect the water in a bucket to water houseplants.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. You should have all outdoor water connections, including irrigation systems, properly shut off during the winter. A single overnight freeze can burst faucets and pipes, so it’s important to disconnect the hose and let the water drain.
It’s too late – my pipes already froze! What do I do now?
- First, call your plumber!
- Second, locate your master shutoff valve. This knowledge will come in handy if things take a turn for the worst.
- Third (for those DIY-ers out there) don’t try and melt the water by using fire, as heating one spot of the pipe can cause it to burst. Instead, use a hairdryer on low to distribute the heat evenly across the pipe.
- If you don’t have a hairdryer, then you can wrap the frozen section in rags and gently pour hot water across it. The rags help to distribute the heat from the water evenly.