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The Home Inspector's Blog

Don't Get Stuck with Frozen Pipes this Winter Season



Don't Get Stuck 
with Frozen Pipes 
this Winter



For many parts of the country, the holidays bring cold temperatures along with festive celebrations. Frozen pipes that burst and cause water damage can put a damper on holiday merriment and can cost thousands of dollars in repair as well as hours of your precious holiday vacation time. Here are a few tips that may help you avoid frozen pipes – and frustration – this winter:


When it gets really really cold, remember your plumbing pipes
When it gets really really cold, remember your plumbing pipes

Plumbing pipes can freeze during times of extreme or prolonged cold temperatures. Thankfully, that doesn't happen very often here Charleston! But on the infrequent occasion when it does get really really cold here, you'll want to be alert and prepared.

Be prepared -- insulate your pipes

Before cold weather hits, insulate your plumbing pipes when you have a chance. If you copper plumbing pipes, this material is more likely to freeze and then burst than other types of materials, like PEX or CPVC. If you have a newer home (say built in 2000 or newer) or if you've had plumbing repairs in recent years, you likely have PEX piping (distinguished by their red and blue color). If this is the first winter in your home, be sure to look in your home inspection report or in your crawlspace to see if your pipes are insulated. If you recently purchased a brand new house (2014 or newer), your plumbing pipes are already insulated. Pay close attention to pipes in outside walls (for those who live in downtown Charleston), garage, attic or crawlspaces. If you need to add insulation, ask your local hardware or home store professional for recommendations on the best materials for your needs.
Be prepared -- insulate your pipes
When it does freeze outside, let faucets drip
When it does freeze outside, let faucets drip

When temperatures drop to on or around freezing, be sure to let one or two faucets in your home drip to keep the water moving and to help prevent frozen pipes. A steady drip or small trickle is best. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), even if pipes freeze while trickling they will be less likely to burst from the pressure because they are open.

Also, pay attention if you notice that water pressure in any of your faucets begins to decrease during the winter. Low water pressure might be an early sign that the pipes are beginning to freeze.
Open Cabinet Doors

During really cold temps, be sure to open cabinet doors where your plumbing pipes are located to increase the flow of warm air. This includes the cabinets under the kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, laundry room sinks and wet bar sinks.
Open Cabinet Doors
Outside Water Facuets
Outside Water Facuets

Outside water faucets are especially susceptible to freezing. Always unhook water hoses and store them for the winter. Consider covering the faucets with insulated sleeves or jackets that you can find at hardware and home improvement stores. **Don't forget to winterize automatic sprinkler systems and pool lines and pipes.
Home Temperature

While it’s always smart to be energy efficient with your heating practices, don’t make the mistake of turning your home’s temperature down so far that you put your pipes in jeopardy. Keep your home’s thermostat set at 55 degrees or above in the winter, even if you’re away from home. If you're away for several days during extreme cold, ask a trusted person to check on your home and pipes while you’re gone.
Home Temperature
Water Shutoff Valves
Water Shutoff Valves

Know where your water shutoff valves are located so that in case a pipe bursts you can stop the water flow as quickly as possible. In an emergency situation in which water is gushing out, you don’t want to waste time searching for the correct valve.

Keep Garage Door Closed

In the winter, it’s a good idea to keep your garage closed when you’re not moving a car in or out to increase warmth. Make it a habit to close the garage door when you enter or exit to preserve heat and save on energy use. This will also help protect any pipes that may run through the garage area.

Keep Garage Door Closed
What to do if your pipes freeze?
What to do if your pipes freeze?

The most common indicator of a frozen pipe is that a faucet won’t flow or a toilet won’t flush, but pipes can also be frozen without those indications too.

If you have one or more pipes which freeze, proceed very carefully because it's actually when a pipe thaws that it usually bursts. Thawing a pipe too quickly can cause more harm than good. While you may have success thawing a frozen pipe slowly with a hair dryer, a heat lamp, hot towels, or electric heat tape, it’s probably safest to call a qualified plumber or repair professional for help. Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe with a blowtorch or any other tool that has a flame, which can be very dangerous.
Check your homeowner’s insurance to find out what kind of coverage you have in the event of water damage from broken pipes (and the amount of any deductible). Know in advance what steps you’ll need to take to provide proof of damage, obtain an estimate and file a claim.

If your home sustains water damage from a broken pipe, it’s important to get a qualified restoration professional to the site as soon as possible to categorize the type of water and begin appropriate clean-up steps. It’s important to start water mitigation as soon as possible to maximize structural drying and dehumidification to minimize damage. Letting the water sit will likely only complicate and possibly prolong the restoration process. Many disaster restoration professionals offer 24-hour emergency services so they can respond to water damage situations quickly.


10 Comments to Don't Get Stuck with Frozen Pipes this Winter Season:

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essay review on Monday, March 27, 2017 10:54 PM
Seems you are doing everything in a very systematic way. It is really very good actually. Every word of this blog is so good that I have read this blog of yours twice at one time.So it was a well chosen sentence, and I like it very much.
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Scott on Monday, June 26, 2017 3:17 PM
I like that you talked about checking about whether or not your pipes are insulated. I have been wondering what to do when winter comes, so my pipes don't freeze. I haven't thought about insulating my pipes. I can see how it would be a big help. I'll probably start looking for insulated pipes, so they won't freeze.
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Spencer Meekin on Friday, July 28, 2017 9:12 AM
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Kamagra on Friday, September 22, 2017 4:29 AM
In the winter, it’s a good idea to keep your garage closed when you’re not moving a car in or out to increase warmth. Make it a habit to close the garage door when you enter or exit to preserve heat and save on energy use. This will also help protect any pipes that may run through the garage area.
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Plumbers on Thursday, January 11, 2018 12:08 PM
wow what a great site of information for Frozen Pipes Plumbing service. Thank you for posting the great content on Our Body Speaks our Mind…
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topcanadianwriters.com on Saturday, January 13, 2018 11:37 AM
Frozen pipe could be dangerous for the general public in this city.There are many bad effects on the environment due to having bad weather.
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Click Here on Friday, April 27, 2018 5:21 PM
Good Informations.
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essayhell.org on Saturday, May 05, 2018 5:16 PM
The major issue in the winter season that the water is going to stuck in the pipe due to the reason of low and minus temperature. Now I have been all these in the plastic quality and forget this problems.
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Replica Watches on Monday, June 11, 2018 8:58 AM
When should you replace your furnace,no one wants the furnace to break down,watch for before great information. The sample reports schedule an inspection with home maintenance tips with great job.
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