If you notice frozen pipes, you need to resolve the issue quickly before they burst. Here are some tips, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, for what to do (and what not to do!) when a pipe or pipes in your home freeze.
- Electric pipe wraps are an option for warming up the pipes.
- Placing a space heater in front of an open vanity may thaw pipes that are underneath a sink.
- Using a hairdryer may melt a clog, but won’t be all that effective in thawing an entire pipe.
- DO NOT use a torch or open flame to thaw an ice clog.
- If you notice a leak once temperatures rise, that is a sign the pipe has burst. You will need to shut off the water immediately to prevent water damage.
- Broken pipes will need to be replaced. Unless you have experience, contact a professional to fix them for you.
- Inspect your home’s water distribution system now, before an emergency happens, so you know which valves control which pipes and can stop water to broken pipes quickly if and when necessary. Attach tags to quickly identify which valve is which if it will make it easier.
Take the following precautions to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting:
- Try to keep pipes warm. Open the cupboards under sinks and turn up your thermostat or use a space heater in areas with exposed pipes.
- During really cold weather, turn on the cold tap on faucets so water drips continuously and keeps water in pipes moving.
- You can purchase insulating wraps for pipes near outside walls.
- If you leave your home for an extended period of time, do not turn your heating system off completely. Set your thermostat at about 60 degrees and seal storm windows.
Stay warm, hopefully spring will arrive soon!