What To Do When Pipes Freeze & Preventing Frozen Pipes
If you’ve ever lived near cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver, you know what record-breaking, inside-of-your-nose-freezes cold feels like. What inevitably follows these cold spells are frozen pipes. When it finally warms back up, sometimes this can lead to burst pipes.
Any homeowner with a burst pipe after a deep freeze can tell you horror stories about leaving voicemails to nowhere with a number of local plumbers. Ultimately, never hearing back when you need help the most. The good news is that Fixer can help when you have a burst pipe!
There’s also plenty you can do to keep a pipe from bursting, and a few things you can do immediately once a pipe has burst. Keep on reading for our tips on what to do when pipes freeze and preventing frozen pipes from happening in the first place.
What to do to prevent frozen pipes
When a polar vortex is in the forecast, you can take action ahead of time to keep your pipes nice and toasty. Our tips & tricks include:
- Make sure your water pipes are insulated – pipe insulation goes a long way toward preventing frozen pipes for any pipes exposed to elements or cold drafts. If you have exposed pipes in your basement, unheated crawl space, or against an exterior wall, that’s where to focus your efforts.
- Cover any exposed faucet or spigots outdoors with an insulating dome.
- Leave all your faucet taps on a slow drip and set to COLD water temperature. This will keep the water moving and reduce the buildup of pressure in the pipes. Do this especially for the faucets furthest from the water main, allowing the water to flow throughout the entire home. Even if the pipes do freeze, the fact that you let the pipes drip means it’ll reduce the likelihood of a burst pipe.
- Leave your cabinet doors and interior doors open between rooms. This creates a free flow of heat to circulate through the home and reach the pipes easier. The pipes located under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, along with any in utility closets need all the extra warmth they can get!
- Keep your thermostat at a steady temperature day and night – never, ever let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it gets that cold, your heating system might struggle to get back up to warmer temperatures.
- Lastly, make sure the seals around your exterior doors and windows are keeping cold drafts out. If you need help winterizing your doors and windows, our Fixers can help!
What to do if a pipe freezes or bursts
So you did everything right, and a pipe still froze or burst – stay calm, we got you!
- Text our Fixer team at 855-583-4937 or make an appointment online. We’re always watching the weather and have team members at the ready to help you fix broken pipes. Although, we’re still busy – and independent plumbers will be even busier.
- If your pipe burst and you have water rushing, then shut off the nearest water valve to prevent further damage. This may be your main water valve, but there could be another one nearby the source, which would be preferable to turn off. By turning off the additional water valve instead of the main one, you can still use water in other areas of your home. If you have to shut of your main water valve, be mindful the longer it’s off, the higher the risk that it may also freeze. After you get the water shut off, try to clean up any water to help prevent more damage.
- If your pipe is still frozen, keep your faucets turned “on” (even if nothing comes out). This allows for steam and water to exit through the faucet, instead of build up pressure in the pipe. You’re hopefully then less likely to face a burst pipe as the frozen areas start to thaw.
- Additionally, if the pipe is frozen, apply heat near the section of the pipe that froze. Whatever you’ve got that can slowly warm up the air near the blockage. Hair dryers, heating pads, and space heaters work well. Please note: we said gradually – i.e. NO direct flame from blow torches or kerosene heaters. It will melt the pipe, and you don’t need your house to catch fire too.
- If you’ve successfully thawed the pipe, make sure to check other faucets in your home for other potentially frozen pipes. You can never be too careful – and keep that water dripping!
How to clean up after a pipe burst
So your pipe froze, it burst, and now it’s fixed – but now what? A section of your drywall or ceiling may have endured some damage from your pipe burst fiasco. Patching drywall and repainting is a lot of work. It’s something that plumbers just don’t have the time to do – but Fixer can help!
Whether you need to winterize your home, troubleshoot your pipe issues, or handle other cold-weather related damage, we’re here to help. Easily book an appointment at fixer.com. We don’t charge extra for same day availability!