I know, “actual” advice. I promise to go back to talking about poop next post. It is cold outside, January in Chicago type cold! In this kind of weather plenty of things can go wrong, especially in your house.
The only thing worse than ripping open your foot on a Lego is water damage to your house, well and a wife with a friend in town drinking wine and talking about how much fun they had that time when they were in college and then they went to that place, you know the one with the great guacamole where you spilled all over that shirt you borrowed to go to that dance with that guy from blah, blah, kill me now!… Wait what were we talking about?
Right, protecting your pipes from bursting in sub-zero temperatures. Here are some quick tips on how to protect your pipes and what to do if they do burst.
Prevent Frozen Pipes With These Tips
The extreme cold combined with wind chill creates a substantial risk for frozen or burst pipes. As freezing water turns to ice within the pipe, it expands and can block the line. This blockage can create excessive pressure throughout the system and cause pipe failure in vulnerable places–no matter if the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash more than 250 gallons of water in a single day. Or the same amount my teenager uses in the shower!
Follow these tips to help minimize the risk of frozen pipes, and to help prevent damage and expensive repairs.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks and in storage areas to allow heat from the room to circulate around un-insulated pipes.
- Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to drip overnight; however, be careful not to run the water into a drain line that is exposed to the extreme cold because that line might freeze.
- Insulate all pipes in unheated areas or against un-insulated outside walls, such as in garages or crawl spaces.
- Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around pipes that are exposed and prone to freezing.
- Make sure the heat is turned on in the building and is set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
If You Have Frozen Pipes
- Shut off the water main leading into the structure to reduce pressure on frozen pipes and minimize flooding if the pipes burst.
- Use a hair dryer to thaw the ice blockage if the frozen pipe is exposed and visible. (Do not use an open flame to thaw!)
- If frozen pipes are not visible, contact a plumber to use pipe-thawing equipment.
- If you notice slower water flow and suspect frozen pipes, you should call a plumber immediately.
These simple tips should keep your house dry and water free during these hard winter months. Remember March 13 is daylight savings! Think warm thoughts.