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Your team of Professionals at Complete Restoration, Inc. would like to share information about your water pipes and the hazards that come along with this early onset winter weather. Keep reading for tips and suggestions regarding how to prevent water pipes from freezing in your home, and how to thaw them if they do freeze. Being informed and prepared may help you to avoid the messy and often expensive issue of frozen pipes.

Pipe Freezing

Water displays a unique property: expanding as it freezes. Tremendous pressure is placed on whatever is containing it, including your home’s metal or plastic pipes. Regardless of the “container” strength, expanding water will most often cause pipes to break.
Pipes that freeze most frequently are most likely the ones in your home that are exposed to severe cold. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing; along with outdoor faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinklers, and any water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.

Prevention

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
  • Swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines should be drained following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors.
  • Check your home for areas where water supply lines are situated in unheated areas. Look in the basements, attics, crawl space, garages, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Consider installing “pipe sleeves” or UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes.

Preventative Action

  • Close garage doors if there are water supply lines in the area.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes during extreme cold weather. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Maintain a constant thermostat temperature. Temporarily suspending energy-saving practices of using lower nighttime temperatures may incur a higher heating bill, but could possible prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • Leave your home temperature no lower than 55° F if you will be going away during cold weather.

Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • Suspect frozen pipes if you turn on a faucet and only get a  trickle. Most likely locations for frozen pipes are against exterior walls or where water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe, so keep the faucets open. As it begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area.
  • Heat may be applied to the frozen section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, portable space heater (kept clear of flammable materials), or by simply wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Never use any open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call your team of professionals at Complete Restoration, Inc. 731-423-1777.
  • If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too. Check all other faucets in your home for additional frozen pipes.

Future Protection

  • Exposed pipe relocation may increase protection from freezing.
  • A professional can relocate pipes during a home remodel.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
  • For more information, please contact your team of professionals at Complete Restoration, Inc. 731-423-1777.