There’s a lot to love about winter. Now that we’re in the snowy season, we can look forwards to sipping hot cocoa in front of a cozy fire, bundling up in our favorite sweaters, and sledding down hills at ridiculously high speeds. But if you’re a homeowner, deep freezes can pose a real problem, particularly if your pipes freeze.

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frozenpipes-image1As a 24 hour plumber, we’re used to dealing with clogged drains year round. However, in the best case scenario of frozen pipes, your water freezes and completely stops the flow of water until the flaw. Worst case, the ice expands in a weakened pipe, which can cause leaks or full-on flooding. How can you avoid it? Well, read on for a few tips to sidestep this costly and potentially catastrophic problem.

  • Nobody expects you to know exactly where all the piping is in and under your home. In fact, most homeowners have no idea where it is. But a pipe that’s exposed to the elements can be at risk. Consider hiring a plumber to perform an audit of your system. They can locate vulnerable spots and make recommendations to help your system survive.
  • Let’s say you know where the piping is located that can be exposed to subzero temperatures. If the pipe is indoors, and in a cold basement, you can wrap the pipes in newspaper as makeshift insulation. For pipes outside, consider covering them with foam tube insulation. If extremes in low temperature are a concern, your pipes can also be wrapped in heated tape.
  • On very cold nights, think about leaving the doors to the cabinet under the sink open. The heat from your home will warm up the exposed pipes and prevent a freeze. If you have pets, just make sure to remove items harmful to them from out of the cabinet.
  • Another consideration on frigid evenings is to slightly turn all the faucets on for the sinks and bathtubs. All you need is a slight trickle of water. We know, it’s pretty wasteful, but the constant motion of the water moving through your pipes will prevent a freeze from setting in.
  • If a section of pipe does freeze, and you know where it’s located, you can thaw it out yourself. The warm air from a hairdryer will effectively break up the ice within the pipes. However, do not use an open flame on the pipe.
  • The last thing you need is for your furnace to break down just as an arctic blast has hammered your area. Invest in a furnace checkup. A reputable furnace repair company can perform an inspection and tune up your system to make sure things are running smoothly, even in the dead of winter.
  • If, despite everything, your pipes freeze and end up bursting, don’t panic. Make sure you know where the main shutoff valve is located for your home’s water supply. In the event of a flood, shut the water off, and you can save yourself thousands of dollars in water damage repairs.