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Winter Is Coming: Tips on Preventing Frozen Pipes

The holidays are quickly approaching and that means so is colder weather! As you ready your house for the colder months ahead, don’t forget about your plumbing system! Frigid winter temperatures can cause your pipes to freeze if proper precautions are not taken! When water freezes, it expands, and when pipes expand they can crack… or even burst! So if the temperature of your pipes drops below 32 degrees, even for a short period of time, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. High Priority Plumbing wants YOU to know how to recognize frozen pipes and even more importantly, how you can prevent them from freezing at all! So, we have put together several tips on how you can prevent this common problem. Take precautions now to avoid a major headache later.

Preventing Frozen Pipes:

Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supplies.

Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.)

Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.

If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How To Thaw Frozen Pipes:

If you turn on your faucet and notice only a trickle of water or no water at all coming out, you may have a frozen pipe! But don’t worry too much! If you believe your pipes have frozen there are some safe and easy ways to attempt thawing them out yourself. If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes, keep these tips in mind.

Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, as cold as it is, will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or start a fire!

Apply heat until the full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Call one of our licensed plumbers if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe.

If you have any questions, concerns, or difficulties in regard to your plumbing, please contact one of our plumbers. If you’re interested in more plumbing tips or services please give us a call at 770.860.8110 or you can visit our website.