January 20

Protect Your Pipes as the Temperature Drops

By Kevin Finn

January 20, 2020


freezing pipes

Burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage. It can lead to costly water damage for homeowners and business owners.  When outdoor temperatures drop below freezing it causes the water inside pipes to freeze. As freezing water expands, the pressure inside the pipes increase which could lead to pipes bursting. Other causes of frozen pipes are poor insulation and setting the thermostat too low.

Prepare your home and commercial building to protect your family, employees, customers, and the contents within. A proactive approach to the maintenance of pipes will save you money and time. Failing to conduct preventative measures to avoid burst pipes may also nullify your home or business insurance coverage for damages.

ways to prevent pipes from freezing

10 Ways to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Pipes that are most at risk of freezing are those in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages. Pipes underneath sinks or behind exterior walls can also freeze. There are things you can do to keep your pipes from freezing and your home or workplace damage-free.

  1. Seal any air leaks surrounding pipes.  Air leaks can also be found near electrical wiring or dryer vents. Also seal cracks or openings around windows, doors, and sill plates. A small opening can let enough cold air in to cause a pipe to freeze.
  1. Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature both day and night.  Don’t turn the heat down before going to sleep because the outdoor temperature will most likely drop overnight.
  1. Turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems.
  1. In very cold weather, open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate underneath the sink.  This is important to remember if your sinks are located on an exterior wall.
  1. Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  1. If you are leaving for vacation for a few days, leave the heat on in your home. Set the thermostat to a temperature above 55 degrees. You should also shut off and drain the water system, especially from pipes leading to outside faucets.
  1. Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. It will help maintain warmer temperatures in those spaces.
  1. Cover exposed pipes with foam insulation. Exposed pipes are more susceptible to freezing.
  1. Wrap pipes using heat tape or heat cables, preferably the cables that are controlled. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for the best results.
  1. During a cold snap, let water drip from a faucet overnight to keep water moving through the pipes.

Thaw Frozen Pipes

thaw frozen pipes

If your pipes have frozen, you may be able to thaw them before they burst. However, use caution in doing so.

  • Turn on all the faucets in your home. If water does not come out or there is a very slow trickle, the pipes most likely are frozen.
  • Once you’ve found the frozen pipe, turn the main water supply valve off.
  • Open all the sink faucets and tub spouts to drain any remaining water in the system.
  • Apply heat to a section of the frozen pipe using the following tools:
    • Electric heating pad
    • Hair Dryer
    • Portable space heater
    • Towels soaked in hot water wrapped around the frozen pipe.
  • When the freeze has thawed, partially turn on the main water supply. Return to the pipe and inspect it for leaks. If water is flowing through properly, turn the water supply on fully.  Close the rest of the faucets and spouts that were open.

What to Do if Your Pipes Burst

Cold temperatures, unfortunately, can cause costly water damage to homes. However, if action is taken immediately, some damage can be prevented.

If a pipe has broken or burst, immediately turn off the water at the main shutoff valve.

Call a water damage restoration service provider, like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration, to properly assess the damage, remove the water, and dry out the water-damaged area.

A professional water damage restoration provider has the experience to work with your insurance company and complete any immediate repairs. They will make the clean-up process easier to deal with and more manageable.

If you wait too long, leaking or standing water can lead to mold growth which can increase the risk of health issues among your family or commercial building occupants. Keep them safe by taking immediate action in contacting a water damage restoration specialist.

Has Water Damaged Your Home?

If you’ve experienced flooding from pipes bursting in your home, or for any other reason, St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration is the company to call. Our experienced technicians know the best ways to clean and repair water damaged property. 

We will respond quickly to get your home and life back to normal. We are available 24/7 for such emergencies. Contact us immediately for prompt attention to reduce the extent of water damage.

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