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January 18, 2013
Imagine this scenario: you wake up one winter morning in your home, turn on your faucet and see nothing coming out.
Frozen pipes can be a nuisance, but they can be disastrous as well. Because frozen pipes can burst and flood your home with hundreds of gallons of water.
According to research from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 of damage.
To prevent this icy wet scenario with your plumbing in your Lawton-area home, follow these simple tips to keep your pipes from freezing. We'll also discuss what to do if your pipes are already frozen or damaged from bursting.
Preventing frozen pipes
To keep your pipes from freezing follow these tips:
- Insulate your pipes - In the unheated areas in your home (attic, basement, crawl space, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets) insulate your pipes with pipe sleeves, UL-listed heat tape or a heat cable.
- Keep your faucets barely dripping - Use this tip only on the coldest of nights (you don't want to waste water!). This makes it more difficult for the pipes to freeze because the water is moving.
- Keep your home's interior warm - Your goal here is to keep the interior from dipping under 32 degrees. Here are IBHS's tips for keeping your home's interior warm.
- Close your garage door if there are any water supply lines there - Closing your garage door will keep your garage warmer and help prevent frozen pipes.
What if my pipes are already frozen?
Even if you follow our prevention tips above, it is good to know what to do in case you do have the displeasure of a frozen pipe. If your pipes freeze, follow these steps to thaw the ice:
Step 1) Turn your water faucets on. This will tell you when the ice is melting. Also, moving water helps thaw the ice.
Step 2) Go to where you suspect the pipes are frozen--usually in an outside wall, under a sink on an outside wall or an unheated crawl space.
Step 3) Apply heat to the frozen pipe with an electric heat pad, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or wrap the pipes with towels soaked in hot water. DON'T use a blowtorch or anything that projects an open flame.
Step 4) Repeat step 3 on each frozen pipe until all of them are thawed and full water pressure is restored.
What if my pipes burst?
If your pipes burst, turn off your water supply with your main water valve and contact a professional plumber immediately. This will prevent more water from racing into your home and causing damage.
Frozen pipes are never fun. And sometimes they can be downright expensive. Use these prevention tips and action steps to prevent this disaster in your home.
Pippin Brothers has been serving the plumbing needs of Lawton, Oklahoma and the surrounding area since 1978. If you need help fixing or preventing a frozen pipe in your home, give us a call or contact us online.