Winter storms and thawing frozen pipes

With temperatures still below zero for a few days, the American Red Cross has taken steps to prevent frozen pipes and to safely thaw them.

“With a few more days of cold weather, frozen water pipes can become a real problem, putting many homeowners at risk of damaging their homes from burst pipes and flooding,” said Brittney Rochell, regional communications director for the American Red Cross of Kansas and Oklahoma. “The most important thing to prevent water pipes from freezing is keeping them warm. We have simple tips on how to safely thaw frozen pipes in your home.”


Protect the pipes from freezing by taking the following precautions:

Keep garage doors closed when there are water pipes in the garage.

Open the doors of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow the warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Make sure harmful detergents and household chemicals get out of the reach of children.

If the weather is very cold outside, drain the cold water from the faucet, which is served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even with a trickle – prevents the pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat at the same temperature both day and night. If you temporarily stop using lower night-time temperatures, this can lead to higher heating bills. However, you can prevent a much more costly repair if the pipes freeze and burst.

If you go out in cold weather, keep the heating in your home on and set a temperature no less than 55 ° F.

You can find more tips online.


The following steps are recommended to make it easier to thaw the pipes:

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you suspect a frozen pipe. Possible places for frozen pipes are outside walls or places where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

Keep the tap open. When you handle the frozen pipe and the frozen area starts to melt, water will flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the pipe section by wrapping an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, portable space heater (keep away from flammable materials), or pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other device with an open flame.

Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you cannot find the frozen area, if the frozen area is inaccessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, contact a licensed plumber.

Check all the other faucets in your house to see if you have any additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, so can others.


Put together an emergency preparedness kit. All the details here.

Stay inside and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, light and warm clothing will keep you warmer than a voluminous sweater. If you feel too warm, peel off the layers to avoid sweating. When you feel chilled, add layers.

Check out relatives, neighbors, and friends, especially if they are older or live alone.


If you need to go outside, protect yourself from the dangers of a winter storm:

Wear layered clothing, gloves or mittens, and a hat. Outer clothing should be tightly woven and water-repellent. Gloves or gloves and a hat prevent the loss of body heat.

Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extremely cold air. Avoid deep breaths; Minimize speaking.

Look out for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.

Know the signs of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, and severe tremors. If someone has these symptoms, they should see a doctor right away.

Look out for symptoms of frostbite such as numbness, reddened gray, white, blue, or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy skin.

Stay dry. Change wet clothes frequently to avoid loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulation value and quickly transfers heat away from the body.


Sudden power outages can be frustrating, problematic, and even dangerous. With a power outage lasting two hours less, you don’t have to worry about losing any perishable food. However, during prolonged outages, there are steps you can take to keep everyone in your household safe and comfortable (more tips on safety in the event of power outages at home here):

Keep perishable foods with ice in the cooler or refrigerator. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers work well.

Assemble a home emergency preparedness kit: water (one gallon per person per day), non-perishable food (three-day evacuation care, two-week home care), flashlight, battery-operated or hand-cranked radio (NOAA, weather radio if possible), extra batteries, first aid kit, medication, cell phone chargers, critical health records, contact information for family emergencies, and extra cash.

If someone at home depends on electrically powered life support devices, make sure to include emergency power in your evacuation plan.

Keep your car’s gas tank full.


It is this time of year when many people turn to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. To reduce the risk of heat-related fires, the Red Cross recommends the following steps (for more information about fire safety at home, click here):

All heaters require space. Keep children, pets, and burning objects (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, rugs, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating appliances.

If you need to use a space heater, place it on a flat, hard, non-flammable surface (such as a ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, rugs, or near bedding or curtains. Plug the power cord directly into the socket – never into an extension cord.

Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended and use glass or metal protectors to keep the fire and embers in the fireplace.

Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.

Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.

You might also like

Comments are closed.