Aland Realty Winter Edition: What To Do With Frozen Pipes

With frigid temps outside this time of year, today we focus on frozen pipes.  Zillow's blog reported that an 8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water per day and each winter nearly 250,000 U.S. homes are destroyed or disrupted by frozen pipes.  Before you turn down that thermostat before leaving for your snowbird trip to Florida, read this!  It could save you more money in the end.  

When water freezes in pipes, it expands and can cause pipes to crack or burst.  In turn, that can lead to water damage and mold in the house...from the attic all the way down to the basement.  

Here are some tips to manage and prevent frozen pipes from Zillow's blog:

If Your Pipes Freeze

1.  Immediately turn off your home's main shut off valve and call a plumber. 

2.  You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with warm air from a hairdryer. Start by aiming the air at the part of the pipe closest to the faucet and move toward the coldest span of pipe. Never use a torch or other open flame to attempt to thaw a pipe.

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.

Prepare For Winter Before Winter

1.  Insulate the pipes in your crawl space and attic, which are especially susceptible to freezing. Pipe insulation cannot prevent water from freezing in pipes, but it can increase the time needed for freezing to occur.

2.  Heat tape or heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Use these products only for their intended use (interior or exterior) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use.

3.  Seal leaks that allow cold air inside, especially near pipes. Double-check around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Caulk or insulation can work wonders when it comes to keeping cold air out and warm air in.

4.  Disconnect garden hoses when garden season ends. If the faucet drips even a small amount, water will eventually fill the hose near the faucet, as well as the faucet and the span of hose just inside the house. When temperatures drop, that water will freeze and damage will likely result.