How to Prevent and Fix Frozen Pipes in Your Home

How to Prevent and Fix Frozen Pipes in Your Home
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    During cold weather, water in pipes can expand as the temperature lowers. This can result in burst pipes causing damages worth thousands.

    As a result, taking the proper precautions to prevent frozen pipes is a must for all homeowners, unless they want to deal with extensive flood damage.

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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Some of the first precautions involve your home’s exterior. If you have a sprinkler or swimming pool, follow the installer’s or manufacturer’s instructions for draining the water. Also, be sure to disconnect, drain and properly store all your water hoses. If water in the hose freezes and expands, it increases pressure throughout your entire home’s plumbing system. That can result in terrible damage with costs in the thousands.

Inside your home, ensure that both exposed and nonexposed pipes in unheated portions of the home – like in crawl spaces, attics or garages – are not at risk of freezing. If they’re in a nonheated location, consider using foam pipe insulation or – in colder conditions – wrapping potential at-risk pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape, which will activate at certain temperatures. Foam pipe insulation is very inexpensive, while the controlled heat tape ranges from $50 to $200. While that may seem like a costly expense, it can save thousands over time.

Beyond the pipes and hoses, additional preventative action can be taken on various aspects of your home. These are some of many homeownership tips that include:

  • Keeping garage doors closed so that any pipes in the garage remain at a safe temperature.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open when possible to circulate warm air around so it comes in contact with the pipes.
  • Run water at various faucets throughout the home when the weather is cold to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Maintain a consistent temperature with the thermostat, being generous with warm temperatures. Although this may result in higher heating costs, it’s better to pay a few bucks more in heating costs than thousands in flooding repairs.
  • If you plan on leaving your home for an extended period when it’s cold out, be sure to set the thermostat at no less than 5 degrees F.

Considering these preventative measures inside and outside of your home can dramatically reduce the chances of your home’s pipes freezing.

How to Fix Frozen Pipes in Your Home

If your home’s pipes are frozen and it’s too late for preventative measures, there are several things that can be done to address the problem. During this process, be sure to keep your faucet open, as the processes undertaken to get water in the pipes to thaw them will be aided by an open faucet, which will allow water to flow. With the faucet open, apply heat using an electric heating pad to the frozen source. You can also use a portable space heater, a hair dryer or towels soaked in hot/boiled water. Apply the heat until the full water pressure is back to normal.

If you cannot thaw the pipe, then don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. As they will likely tell you after the repairs are complete, it’s well worth it to take the proper precautions in order to prevent frozen pipes in and around your home.

Written by James White from Homey Improvements blog.

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