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What You Need to Know BEFORE Your Pipes Freeze

Cold Weather Ahead!

You wake up one frosty January morning, regretting installing that cold tile in your bathroom, but also looking forward to a hot steamy shower. You turn the knob, and nothing happens. Oops. Now you remember the weatherman saying on the news last night that the temperature was going to drop dramatically overnight, and to take precautions against frozen pipes. Oops again.

If You Could Time-Travel

What could you have done to prevent this terrible predicament? Well, you might want to get some snuggly bunny slippers to combat that cold bathroom tile, but here are some ways to avoid frozen pipes (or worse, BURSTED frozen pipes) during the upcoming cold snap:

  1. Identify the particular pipes that are prone to freeze. When water freezes, it expands, causing its container to expand as well. Pipes aren't very expandable, so they tend to explode instead. Any pipe that is not insulated or is exposed to extreme cold is likely to freeze. Look for pipes such as "outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing" (American Red Cross -- Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes).

  2. Drain water from uninsulated lines. Turn off the supply to the uninsulated lines and leave the faucet open to allow any remaining water room to expand without breaking the pipe. Drain all water hoses and store them.

  3. Insulate! Utilize pipe sleeves or faucet covers to insulate your pipes. Even newspaper and duct tape will work in a pinch.

  4. Preventative Actions

  • Leave cabinet doors open under sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms. Be sure to remove any chemicals stored underneath to somewhere out of a curious child's reach!

  • Leave the water dripping from indoor faucets to keep water moving -- it's harder to freeze if it's moving!

  • Keep your heater running -- if it gets too cold inside, it's harder to combat freezing pipes. If you are going to be away, set your thermostat above 55 degrees. Also, have a friend or neighbor check in on your home while you are away during freezing conditions. This will keep you from returning home later to find damage that could have been reversed if it had been discovered more quickly.

What If It's Too Late?

If you turn on a faucet and it barely trickles or nothing comes out, don't panic. Leave the faucet open, because any water movement will help thaw out the frozen pipe. If the pipes have burst, or if you are unable to thaw the pipe, call Homemaster! We are right here in Columbus, GA and are available 24/7 to repair any water damage to your home.

Val Staples is a mom, mini-farmer, medical student, and a freelance blogger.

c. 2015

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