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Frozen Pipes: Your Quick Tips

Posted by Hannah Barney

Our Northwest team wants to help you get ready for the extreme cold weather ahead. Frozen pipes are a headache for many homeowners, but can be prevented with a few easy steps!

Watch our quick tip video below or read on for even more tips on frozen pipes.

Prevent frozen pipes:

  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees F.
  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmed air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children and pets
  • 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 from freezing
  • 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 and burst

Frozen pipes do happen to the best of us, so here’s some ways to remedy them as well.

Thaw frozen pipes:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect 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 being 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 device
  • 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 plumber
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Preventative Tips – for the future:

  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing
  • Pipe can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas

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