In this extreme cold weather, a few extra maintenance steps in the care of your home can prevent a frozen pipe and avert a disaster. Following these suggestions will save you many dollars and heartache. Prevention is always less expensive than repairing and replacing.
- During extreme cold weather let, your faucets trickle or slightly run to prevent from freezing. Running water is less likely to freeze than static water.
- Many pipes are in the exterior walls and crawl spaces, if you know where they are you can use a hair dryer and aim it at the wall to warm. Never use a torch to thaw out a frozen pipe! Never put the flame directly on a frozen pipe.
- Use heat tape on and around pipe to keep from freezing and or to thaw.
- Insulate walls and pipes! Especially in old homes or areas of home that face cold winds from the north and west.
- Insulate and seal doors and windows to prevent drafts.
- Use a heated reflector lamp in dry areas, e.g. a crawl space, to produce heat.
- Open doors in cabinets under sinks to allow air to circulate.
- Insulate drain lines especially in crawl spaces and other unheated areas.
- The best method to thaw a frozen pipe is to use a hand held hair dryer, and electric space heater, or heat lamp with a reflector. If the pipe has bulges in it or elongated slice than it is broken and will leak once it is thawed.
- Make sure the valves to outside faucets are "off" and the outside hose bibs are "open" and drained. There are protective covers that you can purchase for extra protection. Learn how to here.
- Learn and know where your house shut off valve is located so that you can close in an emergency. Test it and make sure it works! Repeat for the hot water heater.
- Install water sensors & water alarms to notify you when there is a problem.
- Install automatic water shut off on main water supply.
- For problem areas of the home, install a temperature-controlled thermal convection powered hot water recirculation valve. This will continuously circulate warm water throughout your hot & cold water lines anytime the temperature is below a chosen setting.
- Have a phone number readily available for a reputable licensed plumber. Establish a relationship with them during non-emergency times.
- If you plan to be away from your home during the winter then shut off water supply to your washing machine.
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