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Tips on How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Posted by Christy Cox on

Frozen pipes happen when liquid expands as it freezes, forcing the ice crystals in the water out of the pipe and placing pressure on any weaker spots in a metal or plastic pipe. The damage may be small at first or lead to a sudden burst depending on how much pressure is caused by expansion of the liquid as it freezes.
Tips on How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  1. Insulate Pipes
    Use pipe insulation to protect pipes from freezing. Pipe insulation comes in many forms, such as foam,
    plastic or paper and usually comes on rolls or tubes that can be cut to fit different lengths of pipe. It is a good
    idea for pipe insulation to be applied both above and below ground. When applied to the pipes directly, use a
    high R-value tube and wrap it around your outdoor pipes.
  2. Use Heating Tape
    Heating tape is a thin, flexible metallic strip with small resistors at intervals along its length. Copper heat
    tape produces heat from electricity and is easy to install. The most important factor in using heating tape is
    knowing where the coldest point in the pipes will be so that you can place the heating tape there. Heating
    tape usually comes in various lengths and widths, so you can cut it to length and fit it around your pipes.
  3. Open Faucets
    If you notice that the water in your pipes is freezing, open the faucets and allow the water to drain. This will
    help prevent pipes from freezing, but won’t help much if water has already frozen in the pipes. Frozen water
    in the pipes can be thawed with a hair dryer set on high heat. Be careful to keep the dryer moving as it can
    cause damage if left still on one spot for too long.
  4. Insulate Your Water Heater
    A water heater that is sitting in an unheated garage or basement is at risk of freezing in cold weather. If you
    have a water heater, it is best to insulate it so that the heat stays inside. A good way to do this is by placing
    foil-backed bubble wrap or foil on the outside of the water heater. Make sure that there are no holes in the
    insulation and make sure that it is secure and not loose as this could cause fires as well as allow heat to
  5. Seal Cracks and Openings
    If you live in an old home and you have not insulated pipes in the basement, you will want to check your
    outside plumbing. Make sure that there are no cracks or open ended pipes that could allow air to enter. If
    there are any cracks, use a hydraulic sealant or caulk to seal them.
  6. Call a Professional Plumber If Pipes Are Frozen
    If you have frozen pipes, do not attempt to thaw the pipes yourself. Always call a professional plumber who
    is properly trained with the tools to handle frozen and burst pipes. A professional plumber can safely remove
    water from your property that is resulting from any burst pipes and direct it to safe locations away from your
    house or building.
    Frozen pipes can cause large amounts of damage to your home or building. It is important to know the signs
    that pipes may be frozen, as well as how to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.