COLORADO – With temperatures continuing to drop and winter approaching, now is the time to start thinking about the possibility of pipes in your home freezing up.
Frozen plumbing in unheated basements and crawl spaces can be messy and expensive to repair. And prevention is better than dealing with it afterwards. However, if you wake up to a frozen faucet, there are steps you can take to safely thaw a frozen water pipe without burning your house down.
Rapid temperature drops, poor insulation, and low thermostats are common causes of frozen pipes.
Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to prevent freezing. Consumer Reports offered these five tips to help prevent pipes from freezing this winter:
- Keep garage doors closed: water supply lines in the garage can be protected from the cold when the doors are closed.
- Keep cabinet doors open: Allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- Let cold water drip: running water through a pipe prevents it from freezing.
- Keeping the temperature the same: set the thermostat to the same temperature during the day and at night.
- Set it to 55 degrees Fahrenheit: If you are going to be leaving the house for an extended period of time, set the thermostat to no less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
When your pipes freeze
- If your home or basement is flooded, turn off the water valve to the house and call 911 immediately.
- If you turn on your taps and nothing comes out, leave the taps on and call a plumber.
- Do not touch or use electrical appliances in areas with standing water as there is a risk of electric shock.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a flashlight or other open flame as this can create a fire hazard. Every year, many building fires are caused by people trying to thaw frozen pipes. All open flames in households pose a serious fire hazard, as well as a serious risk of exposure to fatal carbon monoxide.
- You may be able to thaw a frozen tube with the warm air of a hair dryer. First, heat the pipe as close to the tap as possible, working towards the coldest section of the pipe. DO NOT use a blowtorch or other open flame to thaw any frozen tubes.
When a pipe bursts, try these tips from AAA Mid-Atlantic for filing and managing insurance claims: