7 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are caused by three factors: rapid temperature dips, insufficient insulation, and thermostats set too low.
- Insulate. Even if you live in a climate where freezing is unusual, pipe insulation in your home's crawl areas and attic can help. The pipes that are exposed are the most vulnerable to freezing. Remember that the more insulation you use, the better your pipes will be protected.
- Use heat tape or wire. Wrapping pipes with heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat wires is one option. Use only goods that have been approved by a third-party testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the purpose indicated (exterior or interior). Follow the manufacturer's installation and operation directions to the letter.
- Seal leaks. Locate and completely plug any leaks that enable chilly air to enter the house. To keep the cold out, look for air leaks around electrical cables, dryer vents, and pipes and seal them with caulk or insulation.
- Hoses, valves, and faucets should all be secured outside. Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an interior valve to turn off and drain water from pipes running to outside faucets before winter arrives. This decreases the risk of freezing in the short distance between the home and the pipe.
- Allow the water to drip. It may only require a trickle of hot and cold water to keep your pipes from freezing. When the weather is cold, let warm water trickle from a faucet on an outside wall overnight.
- Make the necessary adjustments to the thermostat. Frozen pipes can also be avoided by keeping your thermostat at the same temperature throughout the day and night. This also helps to lessen the strain on the furnace during periods of extreme cold.
- Open Cabinet doors. This permits heat to reach pipes under sinks and appliances near outside walls that aren't insulated.
Water not coming out of the faucet is one of the first indicators of a frozen pipe. If you notice this, go to the basement and double-check that the water is still on and that there isn't a leak. Continue your check after you've confirmed these two points to ensure that none of your pipes have burst. If you discover that your pipes are frozen but none have burst during your search, you have two options:
- Call a plumber to thaw your frozen. This is usually a better option. You don't know where the frozen pipes are or you can't get to the frozen region if you don't think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself.
- Make an effort to thaw the frozen pipes on your own. Be advised that if this option is not done correctly, it can cause more complications.