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How to Prevent and Deal With Frozen Pipes, Tips for Preventing Pipes From Freezing and What to Do if It Happens

We’ve all been there – winter hits and suddenly we’re dealing with frozen pipes. It’s a common issue, but not one we’re helpless against. We’re here to share some practical tips on how to prevent your pipes from freezing, and if they do, how to handle it. Let’s save ourselves some time, money, and stress this winter season. Don’t let frozen pipes catch you off guard; the expert plumbers from Johnstown Plumbing, Drain and Rooter Pros has got you covered.

Understanding the Risks of Frozen Pipes

While we’re often prepared for the obvious adversities of winter, it’s crucial that we understand the risks associated with frozen pipes. If we neglect this, we’re setting ourselves up for a world of discomfort and costly repairs. When water freezes, it expands. This expansion within our pipes can lead to devastating consequences.

We’re talking about potential pipe bursts here. Just imagine coming home to a flood, caused by a burst pipe. We’re not only looking at water damage to our belongings, but also a hefty plumbing bill. The inconvenience doesn’t stop there. We’d be without water until the repairs are completed. This means no showers, no flushing toilets, no washing dishes. It’s a situation we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Additionally, it’s not just the cold snaps that pose a risk. Pipes in unheated areas, like basements, crawlspaces, and garages, are vulnerable, even in milder weather. It’s also worth noting that not all pipes burst when they freeze. Sometimes, ice blockage forms, restricting water flow and causing significant pressure buildup. This too can lead to a pipe burst.

Understanding these risks can help us take preventative measures and avoid the headaches of frozen pipes.

Practical Prevention Strategies

Let’s dive into some practical strategies we can employ to prevent our pipes from freezing.

First and foremost, it’s essential to keep our homes warm. We should set our thermostat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when we’re not at home. This step ensures that our pipes won’t freeze.

Next, we’ve got to insulate any pipes that are exposed to cold weather, particularly those in unheated areas of our homes such as the garage or attic. We can use pipe insulation foam or heating tape for this task.

It’s also beneficial to allow a slow trickle of water to flow through faucets connected to vulnerable pipes. The constant water movement can prevent freezing.

It’s important to not forget to seal any cracks or holes on our home’s exterior walls. Cold air can seep into these openings and freeze our pipes. We can use caulk or spray foam for this job.

Proper Home Insulation Techniques

Moving on from practical prevention strategies, we now need to discuss the importance of proper home insulation techniques in protecting our pipes from freezing. Insulation helps maintain a consistent temperature within our homes, reducing the likelihood of our pipes freezing during those harsh winter months.

It’s very important to make sure that you are insulating the pipes themselves. We can wrap them with insulation sleeves, or use heat tape, which can be especially useful for pipes in unheated areas of the house. Don’t forget about those pipes in the basement or attic. They’re often overlooked but are just as susceptible to freezing.

Next, consider insulating your walls and attic. This not only prevents pipes from freezing but also improves the overall energy efficiency of your home. It’s a win-win situation. Use insulation materials like fiberglass, cellulose, or foam board, making sure to cover all gaps and cracks.

Finally, remember to seal off drafts. Cold air infiltrating your home can cause pipes to freeze. Check windows, doors, and any gaps in your home’s exterior. Seal them with weatherstripping or caulk.

Proper insulation isn’t just a pipe-saving measure. It’s a whole-home strategy that saves energy and money while protecting your property.

Dealing With Frozen Pipes

If our pipes do freeze, we’ve got to act quickly to prevent any potential damage. First, we’ll need to locate the frozen section. We can usually identify it by the frost on the outside of the pipe or an area where there’s no water flow. Once we’ve found the problematic pipe, we’ll open the faucet slightly. This allows the water to flow, which can help melt the ice blockage.

Next, we’ll gently thaw the pipe. We can use a hairdryer, heat lamp, or a portable space heater to gradually warm the pipe. We’ve got to avoid using open flame devices as they could cause more harm than good. We’ll start heating at the section closest to the faucet and work our way back to the frozen area. This way, the melting ice and steam can escape through the open faucet.

If the pipe is behind a wall or inaccessible, we might need to call a professional plumber. It’s important to remember that we’re dealing with a potentially serious issue. Trying to fix it ourselves when we’re not sure could lead to more damage. So, when in doubt, let’s get professional help.

Professional Help and Resources

When we’re unsure about handling frozen pipes ourselves, it’s smart to turn to professionals for assistance. They’ve got the tools and expertise needed to properly thaw pipes and repair any damage caused by freezing. We can find these pros by contacting local plumbing companies or checking online directories.

We don’t just have to rely on professionals though. There are various resources available that provide guidance on dealing with frozen pipes. Websites like HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List offer articles and advice from experts in the field. They give us the information we need to understand the extent of our problem, and the steps we can take to solve it.

There’s also the possibility of reaching out to our insurance company. Many homeowner policies cover damage from frozen pipes, so it’s worth checking if ours does too. They may even have a list of preferred contractors that they recommend.