With the severe winter temperatures, here are some tips to
prevent and thaw frozen pipes.
- Disconnect and drain outside hoses.
- If there is an inside shut off to your hose bibs
shut it off, but keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the
pipe can drain or expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around your home for other areas where
water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Check basement, crawl spaces, attic, garage,
and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
Both hot and cold water pipes should be insulated.
- If you don’t have insulation available you can
temporarily use newspaper to wrap the pipes until they can be properly insulated.
If you didn’t get a chance to protect your home, here are
some tips to help thaw out frozen pipes:
- If you turn on a
faucet and only a trickle comes out, the problem is likely a frozen pipe.
Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your
water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open.
As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will
begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help
melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the
section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an
electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable
materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a
blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame
- Apply heat until full
water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the
frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have
additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
And finally, here are some cold weather preventive tips:
- Keep garage doors
closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and
bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be
sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach
- When the weather is
very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed
pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes
- Keep the thermostat
set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily
suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher
heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on
in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
Should you experience a claim, please do not hesitate to
Keep warm and safe.