Tips to Help Prevent Your Pipes From Busting in Freezing Temperatures
This weekend through the beginning of next we'll be dealing with some pretty cold and freezing temperatures in Acadiana. Below freezing temps don't come around very often here, and it can definitely cause issues with your pipes. Here are some tips to help you make sure Mardi Gras 2021 isn't even more of a dud as it already is.
You've certainly heard about the simple steps to take, like keeping the water running through pipes at a trickle and leaving inside cabinet doors open to help to keep pipes warm.
How about disconnecting your outside water hoses? If you leave it connected, water won't be able to drain out of the hose bib and can freeze and break the device.
If you're not sure where the water main to your house is, start poking around and find it now before there's a problem. It's a good idea to go ahead and find your water main tool now as well. If you don't have one, you can find them at most hardware stores. In the unfortunate event, you do have a pipe burst, you're going to want to know exactly where these two things are so you shut the water off as quickly as possible.
Pro-tip on that water tool. If you don't have one, you need to get one asap because when we have freezing temps coming our way as we do over the next few days, stores typically run out of them quickly.
The American Red Cross warns that some of the biggest problem areas are water sprinkler lines, swimming pool supply lines, outdoor hose bibs, and pipes on the exterior of your home.
Below are some of their tips, and you can get more information at redcross.org.
To Prevent Frozen Pipes
- 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 of children.
- 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.
- 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.
To 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 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 hairdryer, 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 devices.
- 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 can not 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.