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How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing (and How to Thaw Out Frozen Pipes, Too)

Topic: Seasonal Prep

Winter – have you had enough of it yet? While most of us worry about warming up the car for those brutal morning commutes, many overlook a cold weather hazard that’s right under our feet at home. We’re talking about frozen plumbing pipes. This common problem can lead to major (and expensive) damage if ignored, so keep reading for tips on how to prevent it, and what to do if you find your pipes already frozen.

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Preventing Frozen Plumbing Pipes

Frozen pipes are bad, but it’s what can happen to the pipes themselves that makes things go from bad to much worse. Water expands as it freezes, and this can cause pipes to burst, no matter what type of plumbing materials you have. When that ice melts, your home can flood.

To keep water flowing through your plumbing during bouts of extreme cold, try the following tricks:

  • Open cabinets under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms. This will help the warm air in your home circulate through those confined spaces. If you have chemicals and cleaners under there, be sure to move them out of reach of children and pets.
  • Allow faucets to leak a little bit. Even a slow drip can help protect pipes from freezing.
  • Don’t set your thermostat below 55 degrees at night, or while you’re away from home for an extended period.
  • Invest in electric heat tape from your local home improvement store. You can wrap the tape around exposed sections of plumbing and plug it in to keep things warm.
  • For a cheaper investment, consider adding pipe and in-wall insulation.

Thawing Already-Frozen Plumbing Pipes

Did you turn on a faucet, only to get a trickle or nothing at all? You probably have a frozen pipe. Time is very important in these cases. Here’s what to do ASAP:

  • Keep the affected faucet open/turned on. This will help speed up melting once you begin to treat the pipe.
  • Check plumbing in your basement, crawlspace, or other exposed area. Look for frost or ice on the pipe’s exterior for signs of internal freezing.
  • Use a space heater (hair dryers also work well) and place it near the pipe. You can also wrap pipe with that heat tape we mentioned above, or towels soaked in hot water.
  • Continue heating until water pressure is restored at the faucet. Check other fixtures in your home and repeat these steps if they appear frozen, too.
  • If you find breaks in the pipe, turn off the main water supply to your home immediately.
  • Plan Ahead and Be Prepared

Simple preventative steps should help you “weather” these cold months until spring arrives. However, if your home suffers any kind of water damage, remember that Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis is here to help. We specialize in water damage restoration and repair, and will get your home back to like-new condition in no time at all. In addition to disaster recovery, our team offers many Indiana home improvement services that can better protect you from future dangers. These include roofing, remodeling & construction, and more! Browse our website for more helpful information, and contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your home.