Your carpet is soaked. Your furniture’s ruined. You have to walk through standing water to get across your home to your main shut-off valve. You’ve fallen victim to a catastrophe, but it wasn’t a flood or bad rain storm. You could have avoided this disaster: You Can Prevent Frozen Pipes in your home.
Stop frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes aren’t just an inconvenience. On average a quarter-million families have their home ruined and their lives disrupted each winter… all because of water lines that freeze and burst.
And if you think recovering from frozen pipes is as simple as calling a plumber, think again…
An eighth-inch of crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water per day, causing damage to flooring, furniture, and personal keepsakes. All types of plumbing (pex, cpvc, copper, etc…) may burst.
By taking a few simple precautions, you can save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes can cause. Here are a few simple steps to protect your home:
2. HEAT TAPE or thermostatically controlled heat cables can used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL)., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturer’s installation and operation instructions.
6. OPEN cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
7. IF YOUR AWAY set the thermostat in your home no lower than 55 degrees. Ask a friend or trusted neighbor to check your house routinely to make sure its warm enough to prevent freezing, or….
8. SHUT OFF and drain the water system. This would be something that a professional should do, unless you fully understand how to winterize a home. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it will most likely be deactivated when you shut off the water.
So what should you do if your pipes do freeze?
Don’t take chances. If you turn on your faucet and noting comes out, leave the faucet turned on and call a plumber. If you suspect that your water lines have frozen and burst, then turn off the water at the main shut-off in the house; leave the water faucet turned on. (Make sure everyone in the your family knows where the main water shut-off valve is located, and how to open and close it.)
Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house. You might be able to thaw a frozen pipe with warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe. Do not ever use electrical appliances in areas of standing water because you could be electrocuted.