7 Tips for Preventing and Fixing Frozen Pipes

7 Tips for Preventing and Fixing Frozen Pipes

When temperatures hit freezing, your pipes are not always the first thing you think about. But frozen pipes are a huge risk, as they can easily burst and cause serious water damage. Burst pipe water damage can cost $70,000 or more.

When water freezes, it expands, so any water inside frozen water pipes can begin to create issues and lead to burst pipes. Several factors cause frozen pipes, such as wind chills or homes that are not prepared for the cold temperatures.

While you cannot always control external factors such as wind chill, there are ways you can prevent frozen pipes. Read on for seven tips to prevent and fix frozen pipes.

  1. Insulate 

One of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate your pipes. Insulation is usually made from materials such as fiberglass or foam. However, you can make your own with duct tape and newspaper if you need an emergency solution.

Pipe insulation is an inexpensive solution too. However, you can also consider insulating other parts of your home, such as attics and basements. It will help maintain higher temperatures, which prevents frozen pipes, and will make you feel more comfortable.

  1. Use Pipe Heating Tape

Heating tape usually works by turning on once temperatures drop below the set level on its thermostat. While they can help prevent frozen pipes, you should use them with care, or they can do more harm than good.

If they are not used correctly, they can be a fire hazard, so always follow professional advice and manufacturer instructions. An estimated 3,300 residential fires involve heat tapes each year. Usually, pipe heating tape is best for exterior use.

  1. Seal Spaces and Cracks

Before winter arrives, inspect your home for any openings, such as cracks or holes. For example, windows can let in wind chills if there are any cracks. Also, check around cables for electric items such as televisions or your wifi system.

Be sure to seal any of these gaps, as it helps prevent wind chills from getting inside your home. It helps contain warm air and prevents frozen pipes.

You can seal spaces in different ways, depending on the area. For example, you can caulk openings around pipes on internal and external walls. Seek the advice of a professional if you are not sure how to seal spaces.

  1. Circulate Warm Air

Advice about frozen pipes always talks about circulating warm air because it is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent frozen pipes. During winter, periodically open cabinets to let warm air reach your plumbing.

You can even leave cabinets open on particularly cold nights, so pipes do not freeze. Be sure to plan this so pets or children do not have access to cabinet contents.

Also, keep warm air circulating by preventing cold air from getting inside. One of the main places cold air sneaks in is through garage doors, so keep them closed.

Keep warm air temperature consistent, too, especially when you circulate it. It can be tempting to change the thermostat temperatures regularly. However, consistent warm day and night temperatures can prevent expensive burst pipes.

If you go away, do not stop the warm air from circulating your home. Do not turn the thermostat off. Keep it consistent, so pipes do not freeze.

  1. Let Faucets Drip

Any faucet that connects to exposed piping can be left running during cold days. You can just leave it slightly dripping.

Running water creates more heat due to the friction in the pipe. It helps reduce the chance pipes will freeze.

Running water also helps relieve any pressure build-up in pipes, which can help prevent pipes from bursting. So, even though it will increase your utility bills, it is less costly than broken pipe repair.

However, running water does increase energy costs and negatively impacts the environment because water is being wasted. So be selective about using this tip. It can be useful to let faucets drip if you wait for other solutions to repair frozen pipes or prevent them.

  1. Thaw Frozen Pipes

While you might not always be able to prevent frozen pipes, there are ways to fix frozen pipes before they cause serious damage. There are different signs that you have frozen pipes, such as only trickling from faucets.

You can try to thaw frozen pipes if you know the location. Be sure to keep the faucet open when you fix frozen pipes because water will start melting out the pipe. Running water will also encourage any ice to melt faster.

Apply heat to the frozen pipes in a safe way. Common methods of applying heat include electrical heating pads, tape, hairdryers, or towels soaked in hot water. Be careful if you choose to use a space heater, and be sure to oversee the thawing process, no matter what method you use.

Do not use heat sources such as a propane heater or other open flames that pose a higher fire risk.

  1.  Call a Professional 

If you suspect you have frozen pipes but do not know where the issue is located, or it seems extensive, it is time to call a plumbing repair service. They will be able to inspect and resolve the problem in the most efficient way possible.

Start by searching for professional plumbing services near you, or search for specific terms such as ‘broken pipes repair near me’ if you want to guarantee they specialize in frozen pipe resolutions. Always check customer reviews and accreditations.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Prevention is usually better than cure, which also applies to frozen pipes. There are many steps you can take to prevent frozen pipes in your home. However, if you do experience frozen pipes, do not put off repairing them.

Calling a plumbing service to repair frozen pipes will save you time and money in the long run. You can also get regular plumbing checkups to ensure you have all the right prevention in place. Continue to enjoy your home, heat, and water system throughout winter.

Did you like this article? Read on for more home improvement posts!

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