Frozen pipes cause millions of dollars of damage across the United States each year. The sad part -- or the good news, depending on how you look it -- is that frozen pipes are almost always preventable. Here are some home maintenance tips on how to prevent frozen pipes.
The more exposed your pipes are to the elements, the more likely they are to freeze. If you are able to re-route pipes so they run through basements or attics rather than outside, you prevent a lot of freezing. In addition, use pipe sleeves or heat tape to wrap your pipes securely, adding a layer of insulation between your pipes and the freezing weather.Water left in hoses and sprinkler lines is the first to freeze when winter hits. Drain all your hoses, coil them up and move them inside so they don't crack in the cold. Turn off the hose valve from inside the house if you are able, and open the outside hose tap to let all stored-up water drain out completely. Follow the manufacturers' directions to drain water from your pool and lawn sprinkler systems.
If water is flowing through the pipes, they stand a better chance of making it through a cold snap unscathed. Turn your water on overnight, and let a tiny trickle escape. It's okay to use a pipe that opens to the outside for this.
Antifreeze possibly protects your pipes, but it is extremely dangerous to you, your family and your pets. It seems like the easy thing to just run antifreeze through your sprinkler system. However, as soon as you start using the sprinklers again, the stored-up antifreeze is likely to damage your landscaping badly and is very dangerous to any wildlife who tries to drink it.
Caulk up any cracks or air holes near the spots where your pipes enter your house. Pay special attention to the spots where dryer vents or electrical wiring enter the house. When it gets cold, open up the cabinets under the sinks to let the warm air from the house circulate around the pipes.
With just a little forethought, you are able to prevent your pipes from freezing. Take these preventative actions as soon as you start to see the temperature drop to save yourself a world of discomfort, hassle and expense every winter.
Turn off your inside stop tap. It might be under the kitchen sink, in an airing cupboard or under floorboards near the front door. If you're unsure how to locate or use your inside stop tap, watch our helpful video.
Check visible pipes for damage. If you find which pipe is frozen you can gently warm it up
Turn on nearby cold taps (keep the stop tap turned off) this will relieve pressure on the frozen pipe
Use a hairdryer at its lowest setting or a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel to gently warm the pipe. Warm along the pipe starting at the end nearest the tap.Protect or remove anything which might be damaged if the pipe bursts when thawed