Frozen Water Pipes
As temperatures drop, pipes are more likely to freeze. If a pipeline bursts, serious and costly damage might occur — such as flooding, mold growth and water damage. You can take preventative measures to avoid frozen and bursting pipes in your home this winter.
Protect your home from frozen pipes this winter by following these simple steps:
- Keep your heat on, even if you’re leaving town, and don’t let the temperature in your house drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Seal any cracks in walls or floors.
- Relieve potential pressure buildup by letting a faucet in the back of your home drip.
- Promote air circulation by keeping the cabinets and doors that surround pipes open.
- Add insulation (like a pipe sleeve or heat tape) to pipes that are exposed to extra cold.
- Pay special attention to pipes that are located near cold exterior walls, out in the garage, down in the basement or up in the attic
Spot a frozen pipe before it bursts
It’s not uncommon that pipes freeze in the winter, even if you’ve covered all your bases to prevent it. Keep your eyes open for freezing pipes by staying alert for these common signs:
- Reduced water flow from faucets and toilets
- Frost-coated waterlines
- Strange odors coming from the drain
- Bulging pipes
What can I do if my pipes do freeze or burst?
If you suspect a frozen pipe, you’ll want to take action before matters get worse.
- Keep the faucet open and water running, which reduce the pressure in the short-term and will eventually cause the ice to thaw.
- Warm pipes with a heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater or towels soaked in hot water.
- Check all other pipes for potential damage.
Catching a frozen pipe before it bursts is not always possible. Here’s what you can do if your pipe bursts:
- Shut off your water supply to prevent excess damage.
- Dry as much water as possible with a sponge, mop or towels.
- Call a licensed plumber.
- Speak with your insurance agent; your homeowners insurance policy may cover the cost of repairing the damage.