Stop Frozen Pipes!

      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:

      1. INSULATE pipes in your home’s crawlspace, attic, or areas where the home is unconditioned (not heated). These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember-The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.


      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.


      3. SEAL leaks that allow cold air inside, near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dyer vents and pipes. Use caulk or liquid foam to keep the cold out and the heat in. With severe wind chill, a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.


      4. DISCONNECT garden hoses, and if applicable turn off the indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to the outside faucets, or hose bibs. This reduces the chance of freezing in the section of pipe just inside the home.


      5. TRICKLE of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferable from a faucet on an outside wall, such as a kitchen sink.


      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.



Written by: Skyler Phillips, CPI (Certified Professional Inspector)
Sources: State Farm Fire and Casualty Company

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