An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This old saying is even more true when you are preparing your home for winter. Freezing temperatures can lead to a burst pipe. Even more insidious is a crack resulting from a frozen pipe that you don’t readily see. This can result in a leak and water damage and mold that you don’t find until later.
Here are some tips that will help protect your pipes during freezing temperatures.
Outside Your Home
- Drain water from exterior pipes. Drain and store outdoor hoses.
- Turn off your irrigation system
- Protect exposed exterior pipes with insulation, fabric, or even newspaper
- Seal holes and cracks around the exterior of the house. A spray foam works wonderfully to insulate small holes where cable and phone lines enter. Caulk any cracks around windows and doors.
- Keep your garage door closed.
- Know where your main water shut off is located. This is not something you want to be scrambling to find if a pipe should happen to burst.
- Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space or attic.
- Keep water dripping if the temperature is extremely frigid. Make sure both hot and cold lines are running.
- Open cabinets under sinks to allow warm air to reach the pipes more easily.
What to do if a pipe freezes.
- Shut off the water supply.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe. A hairdryer works well for this. Avoid open flames or kerosene heaters.
- Turn the water back on slowly. Check for any cracks or leaks.