If you’ve spent more than two seconds outside these last few days, you’re well aware of the blisteringly cold temperatures across our region. With wind chills taking temperatures into the negatives and several feet of snow on the ground, it’s safe to say that winter is fully upon us. These harsh conditions remind us of an issue that some homeowners may not be thinking about: freezing pipes. While it’s easy to forget about this issue, as most pipes are hidden in the walls of your home, one slip-up could cost you thousands of dollars in damage. But we’re here to help! Let’s take a look at how to prevent freezing and what to do if freezing does occur.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes:
- Keep Your Faucets On: Any movement of water through your pipes will greatly reduce the potential of them freezing. Just a little trickle can work wonders, so no need to run your faucets at full stream.
- Keep Your Home’s Temperature Consistent: It’s tempting to turn down the thermostat when you are all cuddled up in bed at night, but while you’re keeping warm under your blankets, your home is feeling the effects of the cold. While it may raise your heating bill for the month, you’ll be thankful that you don’t need to replace a pipe.
- Make Sure Your Home is Properly Insulated: Sure, this one offers benefits much broader than just preventing freezing pipes. This is a hugely important tip for any homeowner, as it will save a tremendous amount on energy costs in the long term. While this is more of a big picture item than the others, it may be the single best thing you can do for your home in the winter.
- Use Space Heaters in Problem Areas: If there is a specific room or area that is poorly insulated and struggles to hold heat, place a space heater close to the pipes in that area. Make sure the outlet that the heater is plugged into has a ground-fault circuit interrupter and never plug a heater in with an extension cord.
How to Tell If a Pipe Is Frozen: The best indicator of a frozen pipe is if little to no water comes out when you turn on a faucet. Lower water pressure is typical in the winter, however, if there is only a trickle, there may be a problem that requires immediate attention. Just because a pipe is frozen doesn’t mean immediate disaster, but if not tended to quickly, that pipe could burst and cause serious damage.
What to do if a Pipe is Frozen: Some websites provide DIY solutions to help thaw pipes but we do not recommend this. Like many other DIY solutions around the home, one small misstep could be disastrous and leave you with a problem even worse than the problem you started with. If you suspect that you have a frozen pipe, please call a licensed plumber. They will be able to properly locate the problem area, thaw the pipe quickly, diagnose what led to the freezing and provide maintenance tips moving forward.
Winter is far from over, so keep yourself and your home prepared. If you’re away from your home this winter and are concerned about burst pipes and flooding, don’t forget that Doyle Security provides Sump Pump Monitoring to help keep track of water levels in your home. Call us at 1-866-GO-DOYLE (463-6953) for more information on this valuable service.