Preventative Measures For Frozen Pipes

One of the first lessons we learn in elementary science class is that water expands as it freezes. So when this happens inside of our pipes during the winter months, it can be really troublesome for our homes. If you have pipes that are exposed to severely cold temperatures, chances are you will have to deal with frozen pipes during the winter. If you have pipes that run along the exterior walls with very little insulation, you may see those pipes freeze as well. This article will give you some tips and suggestions on how to take preventive measures to keep your pipes from freezing.

Exterior Piping

If you have pipes and other water lines on the outside of your home, there are some things you can do to lessen the chances of having them freeze during the winter. First, drain all water from any water sprinklers and swimming pool lines. Avoid putting antifreeze in them, unless otherwise directed by the manufacturer. It's also a good idea to remove, drain and store any hoses you use outdoors. You should close inside valves that supply the outdoor hose bibs, and keep your outside valves open so any water that remains in the pipe can expand and not cause the pipe to break. 

Interior Piping 

For interior piping, there are some preventative measures you can take as well. To start, open the bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors in order to allow warmer air to circulate around your plumbing. If you have small children or pets, remove any dangerous chemicals stored underneath the sink. When the weather is extremely cold, let the cold water drop from your faucets. Running the water just a trickle helps to prevent the pipes from freezing. 

You'll also want to look around your home for other areas where pipes could be exposed. This would mean the crawl space, attic, garage and basement. 

Thawing Pipes

It's a good idea to call a plumber to assist you with thawing your pipes. You can thaw pipes on your own, as there are a few ways to do so safely.

You can apply heat to a section of the pipe by using an electric heating pad, wrapped tightly around the pipe. Also, an electric hair dryer or a space heater can help to thaw the pipe. Towels soaked in hot water may also work. You should never use a propane heater, kerosene heater or any device with an open flame to thaw the pipes.