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Preventing Frozen Pipes

by Press Release
December 28, 2017

Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end of a pipe which leads to pipes bursting at their weakest point.


Frozen water in pipes can cause water pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet at the end of a pipe which leads to pipes bursting at their weakest point. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing in extremely cold weather. Holes in outside walls for TV, cable or telephone lines allow cold air to enter the house. 

 

To keep water in the pipes from freezing, take the following precautions:

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through and unheated or unprotected space. Drain the water system especially if your house will be unattended during cold periods.
  • Open interior doors to utility rooms.
  • Maintain extra heat during periods of extreme cold to keep the sprinkler pipes from freezing.
  • Disconnect outdoor hoses. Turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems. Check outside spigots where hoses are attached and drain to reduce the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • If you use oil heat, check your oil levels before the cold sets in.
  • Identify the locations of shutoff valves. Prepare to stop the flow of water as soon as possible when a pipe bursts. to allow warm air to circulate through unheated areas with exposed or uninsulated pipes.
  • If you plan to be away: (1) Have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing, or (2) drain and shut off the water system (except indoor sprinkler systems). 

When Pipes Freeze or Burst

  • Don't take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on.
  • If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, shut off the water at the main shut-off valve immediately prevent additional damage; but leave the water faucets turned on. 
  • Turn off your water heater circuit breaker to prevent damage to the heating elements. 
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with warm towels, hot water or the warm air from a hair dryer. Warm the pipe close to the faucet, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • Always take proper precautions to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near standing water.
  • Check for any cracks or leaks in the pipe and be sure that they are repaired before turning the water back on.

 

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