Winter is just around the corner, so it is important to do some maintenance and prepare your pipes and outdoor faucets for winter. In the United States, frozen pipes and outdoor faucets cause a considerable amount of damage each year, but these issues are preventable. A few simple precautions will help you save the mess, money, and frustration frozen pipes and faucets cause.
Before The Cold
The three central causes of frozen pipes are rapid drops in temperature, poor insulation, and low thermostats setting. Protect your home during the warmer months. The next steps will help you:
- Even if freezing is uncommon for your climate, you should still insulate pipes and outdoor faucets in your home’s basement and attic. Uncovered pipes and faucets are most susceptible to freezing.
- Use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap the pipes and faucets. Make sure you use only high quality products intended for this task and follow all manufacturers’ installation and operation instructions.
- If there are any leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, or pipes, use caulk or insulation to protect them from cold.
- Disconnect all garden hoses and use an indoor valve to shut off. Drain water from pipes connected to outside faucets. This reduces the possibility of freezing of both the pipe and faucet.
If your pipes do freeze
First of all, do not panic. Even the best preventative measures might not work and just because your pipes or faucets are frozen doesn’t mean they have to burst. Take the next steps:
- If nothing comes out of your faucets when you turn them on, leave them on and call a plumber.
- Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water, it is very dangerous.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it might cause a fire. You do not want to burn down your house!
- If you have decided to thaw a frozen pipe, use warm air from a hair dryer. Start warming the pipe closest to the faucet, moving toward the coldest section of the pipe.
- If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house and leave the water faucets turned on.
If you have questions concerning the maintenance or repair of your outdoor faucets or pipes, contact us for more information.