We are now in the BRUTAL cold of winter! In addition to dangerous temperatures, there is the headache of frozen pipes. Anyone who has experienced a frozen pipe that ultimately breaks can tell you this in a heartbeat: The resulting mess is expensive! Do you have pipes inside exterior walls, or exposed areas like attics, garages, or crawl spaces? Then here are a few common sense suggestions!
*This should have been done during the onset of autumn, but if you haven't removed and drained outside water hoses, now would be a great time to do so!
*For any exposed pipe in your garage, attic, or crawl space, seriously consider using some sort of insulation. Insulation options include pipe sleeves, or UL-tested heat tape or heat cable.
*For bathroom or kitchen cabinets located next to exterior walls, leave the doors open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. When the weather is very cold let the water drip from the faucet. Running water through the pipe--even at a trickle--helps prevent the pipe from freezing.
*Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature day and night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower daytime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair if pipes freeze and burst!
*If you're going be be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home. Set your thermostat to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
*If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Keep the faucet open! As the frozen area begins to thaw, water will begin to flow through the pipe. If the frozen area is accessible apply heat to the pipe; use an electric hair dryer, portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping the pipe with towels soaked in hot water. Check all other faucets in your home; if one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
*If the pipe is not accessible, contact a licensed plumber.
Stay warm--and safe--this winter. And keep water flowing through your home's pipes!