8 Way to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing This Winter

8 Way to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing This Winter

Has it ever happened to you? You come home from a vacation or even simply come home from work after a long day and the kitchen or bathroom faucet won’t turn on. Or worse yet, you come home to water damage in your home. The culprit? A frozen pipe. Frozen pipes are a real threat during the cold winter months and are one of the most common causes of property damage. In fact, State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. reports that an average of a quarter of a million American families have one or more rooms in their homes ruined each winter by water pipes freezing and breaking. How does it happen?

When the temperature outside drops below 20° F, water pipes in homes with little or no insulation are likely to freeze and break and cause major damage. A one-eighth inch (3-millimeter) crack in a pipe can spill out more than 250 gallons of water per day, which equates to a lot of damage to floors, furniture, appliances, and personal items, according to IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety). Pipes that run against exterior walls without insulation, or in unheated areas like basements and garages are more susceptible. Luckily there are ways to winterize your pipes to prevent this from happening to you.

To avoid frozen pipes, follow these top tips to prevent water damage in your home:
• Be sure to have adequate insulation where pipes run along outside walls, floors, and ceilings.
• Before winter comes, disconnect outside garden hoses, and drain any outdoor faucets.
• Wrap exposed pipes with insulating sleeves or tape.
• Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to piping under sinks and vanities near exterior walls.
• Seal cracks that let cold air in, particularly in places where pipes run from inside to outside the home.
• Consider running a small trickle of water at vulnerable cold and hot faucets— a constant flow of water prevents pipes from freezing.
• Keep your thermostat on. When you leave your house in the winter, do not turn the heat off or any lower than 55°F.
• For water supply lines in the garage, keep the garage closed as much as possible to promote warmer temperatures.

Ideally, you should take these preventative measures once the temperature outside starts to drop. If you haven’t done these yet this winter, start now. Also, be on the lookout for frozen pipes… you might have a frozen pipe if you notice a reduced flow at faucets— that’s the first sign of ice forming inside the pipe. Of course, if the faucet doesn’t turn on at all, it’s likely frozen. If that happens to you, there are some best practices to get the problem handled as safely as possible.

If you discover a frozen pipe(s), inspect all the water supply lines for breaks and cracks. This is important because if you do notice a crack or break, you should call a plumbing professional right way to help you prevent the pipes from bursting, resulting in water damage. If there are no cracks or breaks, you can likely thaw the pipe yourself.
To do so, first turn on the water, water flow can help slowly thaw the pipe. Next, you essentially want to heat up the pipe. You can do this with either an electric heating pad, a hair dryer, heated and dampened towels, or even a space heater. You can also turn up the heat in your home. Using these various heating methods, be sure to aim the heat in various areas of the pipe to break up the ice. If you’re unsure if you have a break or crack, it may be best to hire a plumber who can help you prevent any damage.
Winter temperatures bring many hazards, and freezing pipes is one that you do not want to take lightly. As you may know, water damage can be just as serious as fire damage. So, be sure to use these tips this winter to prevent frozen pipes.

Need assistance with an existing damage claim? At Ohio Fire Claims, we will work with you and the insurance company to get a fair settlement, quickly. We will start on your home’s remediation process right away to help you make a speedy financial recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation or site inspection.