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Tuesday, 13 January 2015 00:00

Tips to prevent frozen pipes Featured

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With the freezing weather recently, we have been to several homes with broken water lines.

The damages can be significant, review these tips to help protect your home this winter. Here is more from the


The American Red Cross provides information and suggestions on
how to prevent water pipes in the home from freezing, and how to thaw them if they do



Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem


Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts
tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No
matter the "strength" of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break. Pipes that
freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs,
swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated
interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes
that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing.
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by
following these recommendations:



Preventing Frozen Pipes

Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's
or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is
environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor
hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve
open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated
areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and
bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or
installing UL­listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water
pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed
pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do
not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.



During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action


Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.Open kitchen and

bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move

any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the

reach of children.

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by
exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe ­ even at a trickle ­ helps prevent pipes
from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By
temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher
heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a
temperature no lower than 55° F.


To Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places
for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your

home through the foundation.

Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt,
water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help
melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe,
an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or
by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or
propane heater, charcoal stove, or other 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 a licensed

Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If
one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.



Future Protection

Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher
temperatures in these areas.

For more information, please contact HCS. We are available for emergency repairs 24 hours a day. 918-949-9077

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