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Frozen Pipes

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Protecting your pipes so they don't freeze requires being proactive, but if the worst happens and they do freeze, knowing how to thaw them is just as important.

When outside temperatures begin to drop, it increases the risk of pipes freezing and bursting. A burst pipe is a common problem during the winter and is expensive to repair.

Pipes in unheated interior spaces are most at risk of freezing. That includes pipes in garages, basements, and attics. However, pipes on exterior walls or running through cabinets inside the home can freeze too.

You must take various precautions to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter. This will keep your water running and avoid costly emergency plumbing repair or replacement plumbing services.

Common Solutions to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Protecting your pipes so they don't freeze requires being proactive. Multiple options are available, including:

  • Insulate your pipes – Insulation is crucial during the cold winter months. You should focus on insulating pipes in your attic and crawl space with pipe insulation. Choose the one best suited for your home. You can also use heat tape or cables with thermostat control.
  • Drain the pool – If you have a swimming pool, drain the water from the supply line. You should also drain water from the supply lines for your water sprinklers.
  • Store your hoses – You should drain your outdoor hoses and store them inside. Close the inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs and allow the outdoor bibs to drain. Any remaining water can expand without breaking the pipe if you leave the outside valve open.
  • Open cabinet doors – Open your bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors so warm air can circulate around the plumbing.
  • Relocate exposed pipes – Consider moving your exposed pipes to a spot that’s better protected from the cold.
  • Leave the thermostat alone – Set your thermostat to a warmer temperature for day and night. Resisting the urge to adjust it might be challenging, but the consistently warm temperature could prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • Close the garage – If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep the doors closed.
  • Prepare for traveling – You might lower the temperature on your thermostat if you’re away from home for long periods. However, don’t set the temperature below 55 degrees.

Dripping to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Letting your faucets drip water is an effective method for preventing frozen pipes. Turn on the faucets in your laundry room, kitchen, bathroom, and other places around your home.

The water doesn’t have to come out in full force. A small drip is all you need to facilitate water flow in your plumbing system and protect your pipes from freezing. It also relieves pressure to prevent your pipes from rupturing.

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

If your pipes freeze you should immediately shut off the water to the frozen pipe or your entire home, whichever is more accessible. Then, take the necessary steps to safely thaw the frozen pipe.

How to Thaw Exposed Pipes

Melting the ice inside exposed pipes with a heat source is effective. Various heat source options are available, such as:

  • Turn a hair dryer on high and aim it at the pipe. Move the dryer back and forth, focusing on 12 to 16-inch sections around the pipe.
  • Turn the temperature dial on a heating pad to the high setting and wrap it around the pipe.
  • Use a space heater to circulate warm air around the pipe. Move it until it hits every section of the pipe and thaws it.
  • Use damp, heated towels to wrap around the frozen pipes. Changing the wraps frequently is necessary to maintain a constant heat source.

How to Thaw Enclosed Pipes

If you have enclosed pipes inside the wall or a hard-to-reach location, unfreeze your pipes by turning up the temperature on the thermostat in your home. It can help thaw pipes located inside your walls. You can cut out part of the wall near the pipe for easier access and use any method above for thawing exposed pipes.

Avoiding open flames or extreme heat is critical. You should never use a blow torch, heat gun, or similar heat source to thaw frozen pipes. It can cause serious damage and start a fire.

Get Help Protecting Your Pipes

Insulating your attic and exterior pipes is the best method for preventing them from freezing. Indigo Home & Facility Services is a family-owned and operated plumbing company in Austin, TX. We can inspect your pipes for leaks and repair them to avoid additional problems.

Don’t wait to protect your plumbing system from cold temperatures during the winter season. Call us at (512) 608-4999 and schedule an appointment today.