TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – It’s winter cold weather in northeast Kansas this week. Experts say it is important for homeowners to protect the pipes in their home from freezing as temperatures drop to single digits.
Dave Cobler is the owner of Ace Plumbing in Topeka. He said this was a busy time of year for both his plumbing and heating businesses. Cobler said there are simple things you can do at home to avoid costly installation problems due to the cold.
“Check the door seals, window seals, and your foundation,” Cobler said. “People who live in crawl space houses want to make sure their crawler space windows are closed and likely insulated.”
All of these things can help keep the warmth in your home. Cobler said you can also open the cabinets under your sinks to make it easier for heat to get into your pipes. He said this would be especially helpful if your sink is on an outside wall.
Another popular trick is to let the water run in your sink. However, Cobler said it was important to make sure it was a continuous stream, not just a drop.
“If you let it drip, it will keep the cold or hot water pipe from freezing,” Cober said. “If it drips too slowly, it can potentially freeze the drain lines, causing the water to drip.”
Ace Plumbing is located at 908 N Kansas Ave in Topeka and can be contacted at (785) 234-3384.
AAA of Kansas also has tips on how to make sure pipes don’t freeze and how to recover if they do.
Preventing frozen pipes:
- Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water stop valve is and how it works.
- Insulate pipes in the crawl spaces and in the attic of your home.
- Seal gaps around pipes that let cold air in. You should also check for air leaks on electrical wiring, clothes dryer vents, and pipes. Use sealant or insulation to keep the cold out.
- Disconnect the garden hoses. If possible, use an internal valve to shut off and drain the water from the pipes leading to the external taps. This will reduce the chances of pipes in the house freezing up.
- If freezing is expected, consider allowing warm water to drain gently overnight, preferably from a tap on an outside wall. Even a light trickle can prevent your pipes from freezing.
- If there is a possibility of freezing, do not turn the thermostat down before going to bed. Instead, keep the same setting day and night. Temperature drops, which are more common overnight, can freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors. This allows the heat to reach uninsulated pipes that are located under the sinks.
- When going on vacation or leaving home for long periods of time, consider minimal heat to prevent freezing.
Recovery from frozen pipes:
- If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, your pipes are likely frozen.
- You may be able to thaw a frozen tube with a hair dryer. First, heat the section of pipe closest to the faucet, then work your way to the coldest part of the pipe.
- Never use a hairdryer or electrical appliances in areas with standing water. You could be electrocuted.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a flashlight or other open flame. It could start a fire.
- If your plumbing has already burst, turn off the water at the main stop valve in the house, leave the taps on, and call a plumber.
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