Preparing for the cold weather
There are several common causes we find in homes with frozen pipes. Among the most common is one that is not easily controlled – Mother nature can leave your pipes very vulnerable with quick drops in temperature. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing so insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic. The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be. Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Seal up any leaks that may allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With extreme temperatures, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze. Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
When the cold hits
Even when well insulated, extreme cold can still harm your pipes. A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight.
Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls and keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night.
If you are traveling
Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F if possible. Have someone check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing (and don’t forget to send them a post card!).
What if your pipes do freeze
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call MTP Plumbing & Heating, LLC!
Do not try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame as it is a fire hazard. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.
With winter quickly approaching, spread the word on how to prevent your pipes from freezing and save yourself an emergency visit from MTP Plumbing & Heating, LLC.