How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing This Winter

Winter is on the way and with colder, shorter days come many different risks for the systems that make your home comfortable. One of the dangers facing you as a homeowner during the winter months is frozen pipes; problems can arise out of nowhere, even if you have never had a frozen pipe (or haven’t had one in years).

Frozen pipes can easily burst — and when they thaw, can cause thousands of dollars in property damage, destroy essential or sentimental items, and cause homeowners’ insurance premiums to increase.

Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to guard against frozen pipes. The first thing to know is that a hazardous temperature for frozen pipes is 20° Fahrenheit. Indeed, frozen pipes can even occur when it’s warmer than 20° — but this temperature is where you will start to see more issues if proper action is not taken.

The pipes that most likely freeze, first, are uninsulated pipes running through an uninsulated space. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to taking precaution, then here are a list of things you can do to prevent frozen pipes this winter:

1. Open Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinet Doors

Kitchen and bathroom pipes are some of the most common to freeze because they usually run along an exterior wall, which might not have as much insulation/airflow to keep them warm. Opening cabinet doors below the sink will allow warmer air to move around the pipes, potentially preventing the initial freezing. This is a great alternative since it will keep your plumbing pipes in tip-top shape, while keeping your home out of harm’s way.

2. Run the Water at a Trickle

Allowing a small amount of water to run through the tap (especially at night when temperatures are the coldest), can keep water moving just enough to stop your pipes from freezing. Combining numbers 1 and 2 should be enough for most indoor areas — unless your pipes are located in a high-risk area, such as an unfinished basement.

3. Don't Turn Down the Heat at Night

You might think that you're saving yourself a few dollars by turning the heat down a bit, while adding an additional blanket to the bed — but doing so can cause temperatures to fall and heighten the risk a frozen pipe. If you do happen to notice a frozen pipe, followed by a dreaded burst, then you could be looking at spending a lot more money in repairs than what it actually costs to keep the heat on overnight.

4. Add Insulation to Colder Areas

If you have an uninsulated basement or crawlspace that has plumbing running through it, then there are a number of ways you can try to help these areas stay a little warmer in the middle of winter:

  • Seal Windows

  • Add a Space Heater*

  • Install Heat Tape*

  • Get Pipe Insulation

While there is no guarantee you will be able to prevent frozen pipes in all cases, taking some of these “warming” steps should certainly help keep water flowing in your home, while keeping your pipes warm and safe.

What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze (and Burst):

Now, this is where decisions can become costly if not made correctly. Indeed, there are several options to thaw frozen pipes safely and effectively that include, but are not limited to:

  • Electric Heating Pad*

  • Electric Hair Dryer*

  • Space Heater*

  • Hot Towel Wrapped Around Pipe

Remember: Do not use a torch with an open flame of any kind to attempt to thaw a pipe; you could damage the pipe or even start a fire.

The best solution to preventing frozen pipes? You can call the professionals to help you safely thaw your pipes and check for a burst or leaky pipes. If you still suspect that you may have a burst pipe or aren't confident enough to tackle the job yourself, then the professionals at Griffin Mechanical, LLC are ready and able to get the water flowing to your whole home again. Griffin Mechanical, LLC has been serving the Dickson County area for over 17 years and provide honest, up-front pricing. Plus, we are fully licensed and insured, so you know we stand behind our work.

*Please use caution and best judgment when using electrical devices near potential sources of water. Always use GFCI Outlets and if you are not sure, call a professional.

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