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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
14 December,2022

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Fall is fast approaching and before you know it, winter will be upon us.  Even though we live in Southern California, temperatures can drop suddenly.  Knowing how to prevent frozen pipes can save you costly repairs. 

When the temperature drops, your pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. The pipes that are usually most at risk of freezing during cold weather are those in unheated interior spaces such as attics, basements, and garages.

Even pipes in heated spaces such as your cabinets can freeze and burst if they’re exposed to extreme cold temperatures. The good thing is that it's easy to prevent frozen pipes. If you follow the advice below, you can avoid the damage and hefty expenses caused by burst pipes.

Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes before a Freeze

Before the arrival of cold weather, you can prevent frozen pipes by following these tips:

  1. Drain water from swimming pools and water supply lines. Remove and store hoses used outdoors.
  2. Drain the inside valves for the hose bibs before cleaning them.
  3. Make sure the outside air is flowing into the house. If there’s still water in the pipes during cold weather, it will freeze and expand, causing the pipes to burst.
  4. Add insulation to your attic, basement and crawl spaces to help keep those areas warm.
  5. Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. In this area, both hot and cold-water pipes should be insulated.
  6. Consider using pipe sleeves or similar materials for exposed water pipes to increase their insulation and prevent frozen pipes in general. Also, consider installing heat tape, heat cables, or similar materials on exposed water pipes, especially in cold weather.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes during a Freeze

As the temperature drops, you should follow these tips to help prevent frozen pipes and keep them warm and running. Research from the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois shows that the “temperature alert threshold” is 20° F. When it comes to using energy-saving methods in your home, it is often cheaper to spend a little money by turning up the heat to save a lot of money that would be spent fixing a burst pipe.

Here’s what to do to prevent frozen pipes:

  1. Close your garage door if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  2. Open your cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  3. When running water is on, turn the faucet down a little bit and run the cold water through the pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, will help prevent pipes from freezing.
  4. Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and at night.
  5. If you are going away during cold weather, it’s best to set your thermostat to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

 What to do if Pipes are Frozen or Burst

When you turn on the tap and only a trickle of water comes out, there’s a good chance that the pipes in your home are frozen. Frozen pipes can cause water to burst out of the lines and damage the rest of your plumbing. If a pipe has broken, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, which is usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house.

If the water is still running, but there are no signs of a pipe break, you can do the following to thaw the pipes:

  1. Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, the running water will help melt the ice in the pipe.
  2. Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
  3. Do not use a blowtorch, a kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.
  4. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have more frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, burst or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call High Speed Plumbing today.

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