Frozen Pipes 101

It’s Winter in the South which can only mean one thing: frozen pipes. They’re the worst!  A source of angst, disturbed showers, and in worst case scenarios, burst pipes that cause thousands of dollars of damage.  Get ahead of the cold with these tips.


To Prevent Pipe Freezing

  • Keep the house warm during the day and night.  When the temperature remains constant, the risk of pipes freezing is reduced.
  • Keep exposed pipes running at a trickle.  As water runs through the line, even at a trickle, it will be easier to “warm up” the pipe and allow water to flow through as opposed to leaving the water off completely.
  • Insulate the attic, the crawlspace, and exposed pipes.  Heat loss can be a real problem in the winter which not only correlates with high energy bills but frozen pipes as well. Make sure all areas are insulated.  For exposed water pipes, you can get pipe sleeves to keep them warm.
  • Keep garage doors down during the winter. Even though the garage is technically the exterior, it still is warmer than outside temps if the door stays down.
  • Open up the cabinets under sinks.  The warm temperature will help prevent freezing for the interior pipes.
  • When on vacation, keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees.
  • If you have a well, set up a heat lamp to keep the well lines from freezing.

What To Do If The Pipes Freeze

The following steps were found on The Red Cross website.

  • If a trickle of water comes out when you turn on the faucet, chance’s are the pipe is frozen.  It will more than likely be in an exterior wall or at the water service to the house.
  • Keep the water on so that the water will continue to melt the ice in the pipe while you treat the pipe.
  • Warm up the affected pipe with a heating pad, electric hair dryer, portable electric space heater, or wrapping pipes in towels soaked in hot water.  Don’t get crazy and use flammable materials like blow torches, kerosene, or gas heaters.
  • Continue to apply heat to the pipes until water is restored.  If nothing is working, call a plumber.
  • Check other faucets in the home to make sure there’s no additional pipes that are frozen.

Well, The Pipe Went and Burst. Now What?

  • Shut off the water supply to your house and the electricity to that spot to reduce risk of fire or electricution. Pro Tip: Before the winter, know exactly where your water shut off is.  Most home inspectors will note the location in your inspection report.
  • Call a plumber immediately.  Pro Tip: Already have a short list ready to call so you’re not scrambling.  Know their hours and availability in the event of an emergency.
  • Take photographs of the damage. For your insurance provider.
  • Get rid of the water with a professional disaster relief company.  The last thing you need is mold damage in addition to a broken pipe. Call a professional 24/7 company to assess the damage and properly remediate the water damage.  Pro Tip: Much like the plumber, have a short list of numbers of people to call in case of emergency.
  • Call your insurance provider.  You may be able to be covered depending on your coverage options.  Pro Tip: Discuss your coverage options in advance and know what happens when you make a claim. The deductible for your claim may or may not be worth it.

Need tips on how to keep your home warm during the Winter?  Call me to find out how!

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Allen Tate Company


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