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The Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing Frozen Pipes

The Homeowner’s Guide to Preventing Frozen Pipes

When winter comes, many homeowners face a common problem — frozen pipes. A frozen pipe is more than just an inconvenience. If not addressed promptly, it can burst, leading to costly repairs and severe water damage. So, how do you prevent frozen pipes? Below, you will find some practical tips from our experienced Mount Vernon plumbers that will keep your plumbing system well-protected throughout the season.

Why Do Water Pipes Freeze?

Pipes freeze when the water inside them turns to ice due to low temperatures. This situation is particularly common in uninsulated spaces, such as basements, attics, and external walls. The ice blockage increases pressure within the pipe, and if left unchecked, it may cause the pipe to burst.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Now that you know why pipes freeze in the first place, you can effectively prevent them from getting to this state. Follow these steps when the cold weather sets in:

Insulate Your Pipes

One of the most effective ways to prevent frozen pipes is by insulating them. Pipe insulation is a cost-effective solution that can save you from expensive repairs in the long run. For pipes exposed to the elements or located in unheated areas, consider using heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to provide extra protection.

Keep Your Home Warm

Maintaining a consistent temperature in your home can help prevent frozen pipes. Ensure your thermostat is set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you’re away from home. Keeping cabinet doors open can also help circulate warm air to pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Seal Cracks and Openings

Check your home for any cracks or openings where cold air might enter and come into contact with your pipes. Use caulk or spray foam to seal these areas and prevent your pipes from freezing.

Let Your Faucets Drip

If you’re expecting a particularly cold night, let your faucets drip slightly. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent frozen pipes because the constant flow makes it harder for the water to freeze.

Drain Your Water System

If you’re going away for an extended period during the winter, consider draining your water system to prevent frozen pipes. Shut off the main water supply and then open all your faucets to drain the water.

Responding to Frozen Pipes

Even with the best preventive measures, pipes can still freeze in extremely cold conditions. If you suspect a frozen pipe, it’s important to act quickly. Follow these steps right away:

  • Firstly, shut off the main water supply to prevent water from flowing into the frozen area and increasing pressure within the pipe. Next, open the faucet connected to the frozen pipe. This creates an outlet for melting ice and steam, reducing the risk of the pipe bursting.
  • Avoid using an open flame to thaw the pipe, as it can lead to a fire hazard. Instead, use safer methods, such as a hairdryer, an electric heating pad, or hot towels wrapped around the pipe. Start thawing near the faucet and slowly move towards the coldest section.
  • If the frozen pipe is inaccessible or if you’re unable to thaw it, call a professional plumber immediately. Professionals have specialized tools and experience to safely thaw and repair frozen pipes.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Insulate your pipes, seal cracks and openings, and maintain a warm indoor temperature to prevent pipes from freezing in the future.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Preventing frozen pipes is much easier and less costly than dealing with a burst pipe. By following these tips and working with a professional plumber, you can protect your home and avoid unnecessary stress this winter.

If you’re concerned about frozen pipes, turn to the professionals at Skagit Plumbing. We offer a range of services designed to keep your plumbing system in top condition, from routine maintenance to emergency repairs. We also offer leak detection services so we can catch the repercussions of frozen pipes early. With our expertise and commitment to customer satisfaction, you can rest assured that your plumbing system is in good hands.