How to Protect Your Pipes From Freezing

Water damage restoration can get pricey. That’s why it’s best to understand your risk of water damage. Don’t get stuck with expensive water damage repair and water damage cleanup. A burst pipe can result from frozen pipes, so you must keep pipes from freezing.

Here are a few tips  from IBHS to help you gauge your water damage risk:

  • Insulate all accessible pipes using pipe insulation (this can be found at your local hardware store).
  • Prior to the winter months, ensure that all cracks, holes, and other openings on the exterior walls are sealed tightly with caulk or insulation to prevent cold air from penetrating the wall cavity.
  • Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs and install insulating covers over the hose bibs.
  • Keep all exterior entry, exit and garage doors to unheated spaces closed as much as possible during the winter months.
  • If the temperature drops lower than usual and any pipes are located adjacent to exterior walls or within base cabinets or in closets, leave the cabinet/closet doors open or use a fan to increase warm air circulation around the pipes.
  • In areas of severe cold weather, pay close attention to local weather reports for notice of extreme cold weather.

  • When extreme cold weather is predicted, let all faucets drip to prevent freezing of the water inside the pipe, and if freezing does occur, to relieve pressure buildup in the pipes between the ice blockage and the faucet. The pressure buildup is the actual cause of bursting pipes.
  • Install a water leak detection system, available at your plumbing supply store, which will alert someone in your household if a water leak is detected.
  • Shut off the water supply during periods when the home may be unoccupied, particularly when colder weather is expected.
  • Be sure to drain your water supply system before leaving the home unoccupied.

Check for Frozen Pipes

  • Turn on each water supply faucet individually (both hot and cold) to ensure that there is a steady stream of water present.
  • If the flow of water is slowed, or worse, there is no flow, then it is likely that your pipe has frozen.
  • Identify the blockage (probably the area of most exposure) and use a blow dryer (do NOT use an open flame torch!) to heat the supply line, while leaving the faucet open.
  • Continue heating the pipe until there is a steady flow of water.

Clear Debris From Drains and Gutters

To maintain proper drainage and reduce the risk of leaks in basements:

  • Clear debris from basement drains.
  • Make sure gutters are clean and stable to ensure proper drainage.

Freezing pipes – prevention

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