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Frozen Pipe Prevention: Tips for Homeowners

Freezing temperatures can cause water inside pipes to expand, resulting in holes or tears in pipe walls. When the water thaws, major water damage can be the result. Homeowners hoping to protect their home from this problem can use a variety of different strategies to prevent the pipes from freezing. 

Insulate Your Pipes

Insulation can help protect your home's pipes from the coldest temperatures. Insulation is especially helpful in parts of the home where pipes are exposed and where there is no warm air flow. Look in the basement, crawl space, in closets and under cabinets to find pipes that can benefit from increased insulation.
Some types of pipe insulation sleeves are self-adhesive, which makes installation easy. To install insulation:
1. Measure the diameter of the pipes to help you determine which size of insulation will fit.
2. Buy pipe insulation of the appropriate size.  
3. Use a utility knife to cut down the pipe insulation to the right length for each pipe. 
4. Remove the paper backing from the insulation to expose the adhesive.
5. Wrap each sleeve around each pipe. 
Homeowners who want to save money can also wrap their pipes in newspaper instead of pipe insulation. Use rubber bands or string to hold the paper to the pipe.

Remove Hoses

Water that freezes in an outdoor hose can back up into the spigot, causing a leak inside the walls. To prevent this from happening, remove all outdoor hoses and drain the water. Store hoses in the garage over the winter and put them back in their place when warm weather returns. 
Homeowners hoping to further protect their home's spigots can purchase insulating foam covers from home improvement centers. 

Keep Water Running

Watch weather forecasts throughout the winter. On nights when the temperature will drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, leave a trickle of water running through your home's faucets. Keep your drains clear of clogs to avoid problems with stuck drains and water overflow. 

Leave the Heat On

To save money on utilities, some homeowners turn off the furnace when they leave town. Unfortunately, turning off the furnace can leave your pipes vulnerable to cold temperatures outside. If you leave for a winter vacation or holiday, you can protect your pipes by setting the heat in your home to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Know the Symptoms of a Frozen Pipe and What to Do About It

If a pipe freezes in your home, you'll be able to tell because water will not come out of the spigot when the faucet is turned on. To find the frozen pipe, look under nearby cabinets, in nearby closets and in the basement or crawl space. The pipe will be very cold and may have frost on it.
If you're able to find the frozen pipe, inspect it for signs of a rupture. If you see a rupture, turn off the water supply to the pipe to prevent water damage from occurring when the pipe thaws. Put a bucket underneath the pipe to catch excess water that falls from the pipe. 
Let the pipe thaw naturally. Keep in mind that some ruptures are hard to find, so if your pipe has no visible ruptures it should still be monitored carefully while the ice melts. If a rupture is discovered, contact a reputable plumber in your area for help. 

Contact Your Plumbing Expert for Answers to Other Questions

Frozen pipes can make an expensive problem, so preventing your home's pipes from freezing is very important. At Aero Plumbing, we answer homeowner questions about frozen pipe prevention. To find out more about how you can prevent this problem from occurring this winter, contact us today at 803-736-9300.

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