Winter Is A’Comin: Make Sure Your Pipes Don’t Freeze

Winterized heating system: check.

But now, what about my pipes? You’re in luck, as pipes are our specialty here at My Plumber. As the air temperatures continue to drop, so too do water temperatures. Eventually, the water will freeze, and when it does, it expands, which could mean bad news bears for your pipes.

If, even for a short time, the temperature of your pipes drops below freezing (That’s 32 degrees Fahrenheit.), they could fracture, or worse — unless you take the necessary precautions.

Inside

Wherever cold air comes into contact with a pipe, there is the potential for freezing. Avoid this by making sure your pipes are well insulated. Close all crawl space vents, and seal the openings with insulation.

Garages, and garage apartments are usually not as well insulated as their main-house counterparts, so do your best to keep the garage door closed at all times. Doing so will ensure the retention of maximum heat.

Bathroom pipes positioned along an exterior wall run a higher-than-average risk of freezing. If this is the case in your home, consider keeping the door cracked slightly open to allow for air circulation. A fan should also help.

Never turn your thermostat to OFF, even when you leave your home. While it’s understandable to not want to heat an empty house, think of your pipes. An ambient temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure you don’t come home to burst pipes and a flooded basement.

Outside

If you haven’t done so already, disconnect and put away your garden hoses.

Turn off and drain all sprinkler systems. For this, you may need the assistance of a professional who can blow any leftover water from the underground lines. When sprinkler pipes break, the entire system can be damaged.

Make sure you know exactly where to find your main waterline shut-off, and how to cease the flow of water in the event of an emergency. You may find this valve in your basement, your garage, or your laundry room.

If you’ve had to turn the water off because of a frozen or burst pipe in one part of your home, turn faucets to the ON position to drain any leftover water and release any built-up pressure.

Uh oh.

Sometimes, you do everything right and your pipes still freeze. Don’t panic.

Do not use a blowtorch to try and warm your frozen pipes; this is a BAD idea, and you just might set your home on fire. Call My Plumber instead.