Preventing Frozen Pipes

Thaw a Frozen Pipe

When pipes freeze, the expanding water is enough to crack pipes of any type. The pipes that are the most vulnerable are those located out of doors, such as lines for water sprinklers and swimming pools, and pipes placed in areas with poor insulation, such as the attic or garage. While this plumbing disaster is serious, the good news is that you can prevent it. When you know that temperatures are about to drop, or a winter storm is rolling in, here are a few steps that you can take to protect your plumbing.

  1. Any outdoor hoses should be removed and put away; leaving them out can easily expose the connected pipes to freezing temperatures. You should also turn off the water supply for these outdoor faucets. This shut-off valve should be inside, around the same spot as the outdoor faucet (or hose bib). Shutting off the valve should protect the indoor pipes that feed water to the hose bibs. You want to keep the outdoor hose bib on, however, so that any of the water the pipe retains would not cause damage when it expands.
  2. Find the pipes located in uninsulated areas. This could mean in crawl spaces, the basement, attic, or garage, as well as in kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Whether a pipe supplies cold or hot water, those pipes need to be insulated. You may even want to use a pipe sleeve to do this, or perhaps heat tape or heat cable, which can shield pipes that are vulnerable to freezing weather. You may even want to place portable heaters close to vulnerable pipes. In a crawlspace, a portable heater would only need to be set to around 40 degrees, just enough to ensure the water will not freeze. As for pipes that are not regularly exposed to cold temperatures, it is still a good idea to put a thick layer of newspaper around pipes, a layer at least a quarter-inch thick.
  3. When cold weather sets in, you want your garage door to stay shut if any water lines are inside the garage. You can also open up the cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom, exposing these pipes to the warmer air inside of your home (just be sure that this does not expose any children to easy access to dangerous cleaners or chemicals).
  4. Keep the water running. When it gets freezing outdoors, you want cold water dripping from a faucet that gets water from vulnerable pipes. A trickle is enough to keep water from freezing inside your pipes.
  5. You want to set your thermostat to the same temperature during the night as you do during the day. Whatever extra you might have to pay for heating does not compare to how much it would cost you if your pipes freeze and crack. If you are going to be out of the house, then you do not want the thermostat in your home to dip lower than 55 degrees.

If you are faced with a frozen pipe this winter, then you need the help of an experienced plumbing technician as soon as possible. Whatever plumbing problems you face, be sure to contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. No job is too great or too little for a Kansas City plumber from our team, and we also offer emergency, evening and weekend hours. Get a quote when you schedule service today.

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