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Prevent Frozen Water Pipes this Winter
Posted: Jan 03, 2017

Prevent Frozen Water Pipes This Winter

No one wants to get stuck without water, especially in the winter months. Being prepared and informed about the dangers and consequences of frozen pipes may help you to avoid the unfortunate and often expensive issue of frozen pipes.

Why do pipes freeze anyway?

Remember back in science class, when you studied the properties of matter? Well, water is unique. When frozen, it expands. This pressure of expansion can be problematic depending on the structure and composition of the object containing the water. If too much pressure is exerted, the outer container (piping) has the potential to rupture or become defective.

What Pipes are at higher risk of freezing?

Pipes that are exposed to greater amounts or frequency of cold temperatures are more likely to freeze completely or rupture. That would include outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, sprinkler systems, and water supply pipes in unheated areas like basements, crawl spaces, attics, or garages. Pipes that run underground or against exterior walls that have little to no insulation are also subject to freezing.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

To prevent your pipes from freezing this winter, we suggest the following recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pools and sprinkler systems. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. 
  • Remove, drain and store outdoor hoses in a protected area. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open any outside hose bibs you may have to allow water to drain. Keep these valves open so that any water remaining is the pipe can expand without causing damage to the pipe.
  • Do a check around your house for areas that could fall victim to freezing. Common places are located in basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and inside cabinets. Make sure these pipes are well insulated.
  • Consider installing insulating products such as a pipe sleeve or heat tape/heat cable.
  • When temperatures drop, or if you are going away on vacation, let the cold water drip from a faucet served by the exposed pipe(s). Even a small trickle will help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the heat of your home at a constant temperature. Try to avoid lowering below 55 degrees F.

My Pipes Froze – Now what?

  • Call your local Utilities Company
  • Check all your pipe lines to narrow down the frozen line(s).
  • Keep faucets open to the frozen line. As the frozen pipe is treated, water will begin to flow and will help melt the remaining ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe (if accessible) using an electric heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater or hot towels. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene, propane heater, charcoal stove or any other device that would have an open flame.

For more inquiries, consult our plumbing department at 705-942-3043. Stay safe this winter!