Winters have become colder than past seasons, with temperatures often slipping below freezing. When you’re insulating your home against the cold, remember to insulate all exposed pipes as well! Frozen pipes can lead to a long list of household repairs… and a lot of expense! According to State Farm Insurance, an average of 250,000 families have their homes damaged each winter because of frozen water pipes.
A common practice to prevent water pipes from freezing is to leave water running. While this does prevent water pipes from freezing, it is also a great waste of treated drinking water. This practice causes a great demand on the water system, making it difficult to keep up with the demand for water while wasting thousands of gallons of water to run down the drain. Another important point to remember is that you have to PAY for that water that is flowing down the drain! It is much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly to take the time to insulate your water pipes against the cold.
How can homeowners protect themselves from this cold weather hazard?
- Disconnect all garden hoses. Shut off and drain water pipes leading to outside faucets.
- Insulate all exposed pipes in crawl spaces and attics.
- Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees – even if the home is unoccupied.
- Seal leaks in the home that could allow cold air inside where pipes are located.
- Open cabinet doors so that heat can reach uninsulated pipes under sinks.
If your pipes do happen to freeze:
- Call a plumber immediately
- Turn off the water at the home’s main shut-off valve.
- Never try to thaw a pipe with a blow torch or an open flame. Try using warm air from a hair dryer.