Prevent Frozen Pipes Now!
Each and every winter, thousands of households across the country have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted by frozen, cracked and burst water pipes. At Horizon Services, we get dozens of calls per day related to frozen pipes and plumbing during the winter months. It’s not just copper and metal pipes that can freeze and burst — even the more modern plastic and PVC pipes can become victims of the cold weather.
Frozen pipes can mean extremely expensive and extensive repairs…and not just from a plumbing perspective. Even a small crack can spew hundreds of gallons of water a day, and that can cause extreme damage to ceilings, walls and floors.
These kinds of plumbing disasters don’t have to happen. By taking these simple preventive measures, you can save you a lot of money and heartache
Before Winter Weather Sets In…
Insulate all pipes throughout your home — particularly in crawl spaces and attics (these exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing). The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be. A variety of insulation materials are available at your hardward store including insulated sleeves, heat tape and thermostatically-controlled heat cables. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and closely follow all manufacturers’ instructions for installation and use.
Look for and seal all leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located, especially around electrical wiring and vents.Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out and the heat in. With extreme cold temperatures, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
Disconnect outdoor garden hoses. Shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. A freeze in these pipes on the outer perimeter of your house could quickly spread throughout the entire home.
When the Temperature Does Hit The Freezing Point…
Try not to let your plumbing go idle. Each day, try to run at least some water from as many fixtures — sinks, toilets, tubs — as you can. Even a trickle of hot and cold water running through all of your houses pipes might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. It’s a good idea to let a little bit warm water drip overnight from faucets. If you have any uninsulated pipes that are hidden under sinks or in closets, open up cabinets and doors to allow room heat to get to them.
If you leave your home for a few days or take a winter vacation, keep the heat on. Make sure you set the thermostat no lower than 55°F. Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house to make sure it stays warm and pipes aren’t freezing. If you’re going to be gone for a real long time, it may also a good idea to entirely shut off and drain your home water system (including any fire sprinkler systems).
What To Do If Your Pipes Do Freeze…
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and then call a professional plumber. If you suspect or know that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and leave the water faucets turned on.
If you suspect your pipes are frozen or actually see ice forming on your pipes, NEVER try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame; not only can you cause further damage to your plumbing, you risk setting your house on fire. Instead, try to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipes that are closest to the faucet and work your way toward the coldest section of pipe. Do not use a hair dryer or any electrical appliances in areas where water has leaked or collected — you could be electrocuted. (Please Note: Horizon Services does not provide service to thaw a frozen pipe).