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Frozen Pipes

Water has a unique feature. When it freezes it expands, and when it does it creates pressure. Pressure that is strong enough to break whatever is containing it, be it plastic, copper, or other forms of metal pipes. All pipes have the potential to freeze, but those that are in outside walls, unheated/under heated garages, sprinkler lines, and outside hose spigots are the most susceptible to freezing.

 

The best way to avoid frozen pipes is to be prepared ahead of time. Before freezing weather hits turn off your water supply to your outside spigots. Unhook, drain, and store your hoses for the winter. Be sure to leave your spigot open to let any excess water drain. This also leaves room for expansion of any water left in the pipe. It is also good to check your home and garage for pipes in unheated areas such as the garage, attics, and crawl spaces. If you find any turn off their water supply if possible, if not be sure that they are well insulated.

 

When winter sets in and the temperature is below freezing keep an eye on your pipes. If your kitchen/bathrooms pipes are on an outside wall open the cabinet doors occasionally to let warm air reach them. It is also a good idea to let water drip from your faucets if the pipes are in a low heat area or if it is extremely cold. If you leave your home for an extended period of time be sure to keep the heat at 60+ degrees, having a neighbor stop by to run your water is also recommended.

 

If you have frozen pipe issues due to poor location, such as in an attic, the best solution is to have them relocated. If a frozen pipe bursts be sure to turn off the water supply as soon as possible to prevent further damage when the ice melts. The easiest way to do this is with your main water supply valve. It is also a good idea to turn this valve on and off at least once a year to keep it in working order. If a pipe is frozen, or you think one may be, have a plumber out to inspect it ASAP to prevent any further damage.