You Can Protect Your Home from Frozen Pipes
Peace of mind is a beautiful thing. Peace of mind is feeling worry-free while you’re traveling a few days or weeks for work or driving away from your vacation home for months at a time. Peace of mind is saving thousands of dollars that you could pay in repairs from a frozen pipe bursting.
However, peace of mind is not automatic — there are certain precautions you need to take to ease your mind about a water leak from frozen pipes bursting while you’re away.
The good news is that leakSMART® can help with this much-needed reassurance. We’re here to provide you with tips to avoid and resolve frozen pipes –– and the home water damage that can follow.
Tips to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Shut the door.
If there are water supply lines in the garage, make sure you close the door when you’re not using the garage. Since it’s likely your garage doesn’t have heat, keeping as much cold air out as possible will help insulate those water lines and prevent freezing.
Set and forget.
If you’re traveling in the winter months, leave the heat on in your home. Setting your thermostat to at least 55° Fahrenheit is an easy way to help prevent frozen pipes.
Place an insulating dome or other covering on all outdoor faucets and spigots. This small effort to provide some insulation will reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.
Let it flow.
Allow a slow drip to flow from your faucets to reduce the buildup of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, the release of pressure in the water system will reduce the chances of a complete rupture.
Monitor your pipes.
- If you catch the pipes starting to freeze, you have a chance to prevent a rupture. Throughout the winter season, you’ll want to continuously monitor the status of all your water pipes. Try following the steps below to check on the pipes’ current state.
- If you see reduced water pressure, it’s a sign of freezing.
- Check the water pressure once in the morning and once before bed.
- Check pipes adjacent to the water meter, including unheated and uncovered sections left vulnerable to freezing.
So what should you do if your pipes already froze?
Keep the flow going.
- Even if your pipes have frozen, you should keep your faucet open and keep a drip flowing. As the frozen area begins to melt, water will flow through the lines, helping the ice melt around the pipe. This also continues to release pressure in the water system and could lessen the chances of a complete rupture.
- You have plenty of heating methods to choose from to help thaw the frozen pipes. Apply heat to the frozen area by wrapping an electric heating pad around the pipe, blowing hot air on the frozen area with an electric hair dryer or soaking towels in hot water and wrapping them around the pipes. You could also use a portable space heater to warm the underside of the house – if and only if you keep it away from flammable materials and never leave it unattended. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to continue applying heat until full water pressure is restored.
Call a plumbing professional.
- If you’re unable to locate the frozen area or if your heating applications haven’t worked how you’d like them to, call a licensed plumbing professional to help.
- After you’ve thawed the pipes, it would be a great time to install leakSMART. This water leak detection system can help by alerting you of a problem and shutting off the water supply in the event of a leak.
There are ways to help prevent frozen pipes so that you don’t come home to a watery disaster. Follow these tips to achieve that peace of mind you crave while you’re away. Or for even more assurance, install a leakSMART system in your home to detect and stop leaks before they start.
Have more tips to include? Share them in the comments!