Long before the season’s first polar vortex arrives, you need a plan for preventing frozen pipes. If your pipes do freeze, you should plan for how you will deal with them until the plumber arrives.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
- If your pipes are located in an unheated basement or crawl space, insulate the wall space with fiberglass batts. You can also use insulation to close off vents to keep cold air out during the cold spell.
- Insulate exposed pipes wherever it is practical to do so.
- Inspect the holes where pipes enter the home from exterior walls. Insulate or install weatherstripping around the openings.
- When exterior walls are not well insulated, pipes in these walls are vulnerable. Leave cabinet doors open so heat can keep the pipes from freezing.
- Turn a faucet on (at least one per floor of the home) to allow a trickle of water to flow.
- Turning up the thermostat in the home will also help heat the space under your house so that pipes don’t freeze.
- With outdoor faucets, disconnect hoses, drain and wrap faucets.
- Heating cables can help protect pipes in particularly vulnerable locations.
- Place a space heater in the basement, garage or other locations where you’re concerned about freezing.
- If you’re particularly concerned about frozen pipes over a period of extreme temperatures, you might try shutting off the main water supply. It’s a good idea to do this if you’re going to be away from home during a cold spell.
Managing Frozen Pipes
If your pipes freeze, shut off the main water valve, and call a licensed plumber. It’s always best to have a professional plumber help with thawing, as serious damage can result otherwise.
You can sometimes thaw pipes with a hair dryer, if there is no standing water. Never use a torch. Once the pipe is thawed, turn the water on slowly and watch for leaks. Be ready to shut the water off at the main valve if you see a leak.
To learn more about HVAC topics, contact Cool Power LLC. We’ve served the Long Island area since 1975.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about preventing frozen pipes and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 631-292-0629.
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