Aland Realty Winter Edition: What To Do With Frozen Pipes

With the frigid temperatures outside at this time of year, we thought it might be helpful to focus on cold weather related damage.  Today, we focus on frozen pipes.  

Frozen water in pipes obviously causes water to stop flowing through them.  But what is damaging and potentially destructive is when water freezes, it expands.  This expansion can cause pipes to crack or burst.  According to Zillow's blog, more than 250,000 households have their homes destroyed by frozen pipes each year.  Generally, when people leave the house for a few days, they may turn down the thermostat to save money, but in reality, they may be costing themselves a lot more money in the long run if their pipes freeze.

What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze

If you find frozen pipes, immediately go to your main water shut off valve and turn it off.  Then call a plumber.

A hair dryer can be used on the portion of pipe closest to your faucet in the meantime.  Never use a direct flame to try to thaw the pipe.

What To Do To Prevent Frozen Pipes

1.  Let a trickle of water run from indoor faucets located along exterior walls. This dripping water provides relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. If there is no excessive water pressure, the pipe won’t burst – even if the water inside the pipe freezes.

2.  Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks along exterior walls.

Get Your Home Ready For Winter BEFORE Winter

1.  Pipe insulation especially in the basement and attic is helpful.

2.  Heat tape or cable can be helpful to insulate pipes.

3.  Seal any leaks that allow cold air to flow around the pipes. Double-check electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes.

4.  Disconnect garden hoses.  If a pipe leaks water, it will fill the hose eventually freeze the hose and the faucet around it.  

For more info on winterizing your home, read Zillow's blog here!

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