A frozen pipe can lead to a major home disaster. It can burst or crack, allowing roughly 250 gallons of water to flow into your home or property. If not dealt with immediately, this may lead to serious structural damage and mold growth. However, this situation is largely preventable!
Here are a few tips from Water Savers Atlanta to prevent your pipes from freezing and if a pipe should freeze, how to handle it.
HOW TO PROTECT PIPES FROM FREEZING
- Drain Garden Hoses A frozen garden hose can actually burst an interior pipe due to the increased pressure it places on your entire plumbing system. Disconnect garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut off/drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
- Seal Up Cracks and Holes Caulk any holes or cracks near pipes (around windows, doors, electrical wiring, dryer vents, and near your home’s foundation) to keep the cold air out and the warm air in.
- Open Your Cabinets and Close Your Garage When the temperature drops, open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes. Keep your garage doors closed, especially if water lines are located there.
- Add Extra Insulation Add insulation to walls, ceilings, attics, basements, and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures, keeping your pipes warm.
- Pipe Sleeves and Heat Tape It can get expensive to open up walls, floors, or ceilings to properly insulate your pipes. Keep exposed pipes warm by fitting them with pipe sleeves or heat tape.
- Let Your Faucets Drip During cold weather, let water slightly trickle from faucets with exposed pipes. This prevents pressure from building up in your pipes and will prevent it from bursting.
- Thermostat Maintain a constant indoor temperature (no lower than 55° F) day or night, even when you are not home.
HOW TO THAW FROZEN PIPES
If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. Here is what you should do.
- Keep the faucet on As you begin to treat the frozen pipe, water will begin to slowly flow through the frozen area, melting the ice in the pipe.
- Apply Heat If you can locate the frozen area, heat the pipe using an electric heating pad, hairdryer, portable space heater, or by wrapping the pipe with warm towels until the water pressure is restored. Do not use electrical appliances in areas with standing water and do not use an open flame (e.g. blowtorch, gas heater) to attempt to thaw the pipe.
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