Preventing frozen pipes

frozen pipesFrozen water pipes in your Pennsylvania home can be a problem at best, and a disaster at worst: A simple 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release 250 gallons of water a day – enough to fill about three average-sized bathtubs.

More importantly, it’s enough to do some real damage to your home, causing structural problems and creating the long-term potential for mold growth.

Needless to say, this is something you want to avoid.

The good news is that by taking a few simple precautions, you can prevent the expense and aggravation that frozen pipes cause. Here are some tips:

Early in the season or in the offseason:

  • Insulate pipes in your crawl spaces and attic, where it tends to be coldest.
  • Seal air leaks near and around pipes using caulk or insulation.
  • Shut off and drain water pipes leading to outdoor faucets.

If it is freezing outside:

  • Run a trickle of hot water down your pipes to keep them from freezing
  • Make sure your thermostat is set high enough to keep your pipes warm as temperatures drop overnight.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks.

If you are planning a vacation or own a summer home that sits unused:

  • Set the thermostat in the house no lower than 55°F; do NOT turn the heat completely off.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your home during cold snaps.
  • Shut off and drain your water system before heating season.

If your pipes have frozen:

  • Never operate appliances in standing water.
  • Never use an open flame to thaw pipes; you may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer if you start by warming the pipe close to the faucet and work toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If this approach doesn’t work, call a professional plumber.

If your water pipes have already burst

  • Turn off water at the main shutoff valve in the house; if you don’t know how to do this, consult a professional plumber. Teach everyone in your family where the water shutoff valve is and how to close it.
  • Call a plumber.

Want to know the best way to keep your pipes from freezing? Service your heating equipment to keep it working properly and make sure you have a reliable supply of propane or heating oil on hand. If you need help with either, contact the pros at Ace-Robbins today! Ace-Robbins: Serving Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Sullivan, and Wyoming Counties.