How To Prevent Water Damage From Frozen Pipes

The lower the temperatures get, the higher your chances of having frozen pipes that cause water damage. And if there is one thing nobody wants to deal with during the holidays is the headache, hassle, and cost of frozen pipes and water damage to their property. Failure to prevent this from happening in your home can be very costly. The bill created by something like this can reach $5,000 or more! Then you will be calling an Idaho Falls restoration company.

Did you know that just a 1/8 inch crack can unleash up to 250 gallons of water a day?

The Problem With Frozen Pipes

Water is unique for a few reasons. One of which is that it will expand when it freezes. It can be fun if you want to build a snowman, but not so much if you have water in your pipes. Expanding water puts pressure on pipes and can even cause them to burst or crack. This can cause all sorts of water damage.

The pipes that have the biggest risk of freezing, breaking, and causing water damage are in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages. But don’t forget about the pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls. It can happen to them too. Fortunately, there are some things you can do that should keep your water running and your house dry.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

The best way to make sure you don’t have frozen pipes (besides having no pipes) is to take some preventative measures before it gets too cold. If you have not taken these steps, it might already be too late, but do them if you still can. Keep in mind that studies have shown that when the temperature drops below 20° F is when things can start to get dicey.

Before It Freezes

You need to remove the water from places that you won’t be using it for the next few months. This means draining your swimming pool and sprinkler lines. Disconnect any hoses, drain the water out of them, and put them away for storage. 

Close the inside valves that send water to outdoor hose bibs and open the outside bibs to allow the water a way to drain out.

Finally, make sure that the at-risk pipes are insulated in some way. Some things that can be used to prevent frozen pipes are pipe sleeve, heat tape, and heat cable. You can even use newspapers around your pipes if nothing else. Just a quarter-inch of paper can go a long way in freezing temperatures.

When It Is Freezing

These tips will help your pipes from freezing

Keep your garage doors closed. This is especially important if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.)

Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. During a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.

If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If you turn on your faucet and little or no water comes out, it’s safe to assume that you have a frozen pipe. Now what? How can you take care of this without any water damage? Here are some things you can do.

Open your faucet so water can start flowing as soon as the frozen area begins to thaw. This running water will help to melt any other ice still inside the pipes.

If you know the spot of the freeze, apply heat to that part of the pipe. Do this with an electric heating pad, hairdryer, or with towels soaked in hot water. Warning! — Never do this with a blowtorch or any other device with an open flame. Keep applying the heat until your water pressure is back to normal. If you can’t find the location of the freeze in your pipes, contact a plumber.