Unfortunately, frozen water pipes are one of the harsh realities of the winter season. When outside temperatures drop to below freezing, it’s not uncommon for the water in your pipes to turn to ice. As freezing water expands, the pressure inside your pipes begins to change, which can cause a pipe to burst and in turn, cause water damage to your home. Dealing with a flooded house is not only inconvenient and stressful, it’s expensive. To save you from unnecessary repair bills and soggy belongings, here are a few ways to prevent the disaster, and some advice on what to do if it does happen.

7 Ways To Prevent Frozen Pipes

  1. Insulation is key. Make sure your pipes are properly insulated. When insulating your pipes, always pay special attention to pipes close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces as those are where the chance of freezing is greatest.
  2. Check for air leaks surrounding or near your pipes. If you find any, seal them tightly.
  3. Shut your garage doors. If your garage has water supply lines, keep the garage doors closed in the colder months. This prevents the pipes from being exposed to colder temperatures.
  4. Turn off whatever you’re not using. Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems.
  5. Let your indoor pipes breathe. Allow the warm indoor air to circulate around the plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom by opening your cabinet doors.
  6. Turn up the heat. Now is not the time to worry about utility bills. Keep the heat in your home at 55 degrees F or higher, even when you are out of town.
  7. Know where to go. Identify the location of shutoff valves around your home beforehand so that you are prepared to stop the flow of water as soon as possible if a pipe bursts.

What To Do When A Pipe Freezes/Bursts

Sometimes winter will get the best of your plumbing system, so here’s what to do if you find that your pipes have frozen or burst.

If your pipes have frozen, don’t panic.

  • Open all faucets. This will help your pipes thaw out and adjust the pressure inside of them.
  • Remove all insulation surrounding your pipes and wrap the pipes in rags.
  • If the situation doesn’t improve, don’t try and DIY. Call your plumber as soon as possible.

If your pipes have burst, do your best to act as quickly as possible. A timely reaction to the flood will minimize damage.

  • Go to your valve and shut off the water immediately to prevent additional damage.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and take proper steps to avoid an electrical shock from being in or near water.
  • Assess the damage as best you can and take an inventory of any damaged property or possessions and also take photographs for insurance purposes if necessary.
  • Depending on the amount of damage, call your local claims office and ask them to help you find a professional who deals with emergency water mitigation. In situations like this, it’s best to seek out a vendor who can dry out the damaged area properly and deal with any other issues.