Avoiding Frozen Pipes
With temperatures now below freezing, pipes and faucets near or in exterior walls may be at risk of freezing and bursting, resulting in a water problem when warmer temperatures return.
TVF&R advises individuals to prepare now by knowing how to shut-off the water to your home in case of emergency and taking the following preventative measures:
* In your home you may have pipes located in the exterior wall because they serve a fixture that is placed against that wall. While they may be somewhat insulated, they can still become cold enough to freeze. In the case of a sink, it may be helpful to open the cabinet doors under the sink to allow warm interior air to warm the wall. You can also leave a trickle of water running from the faucet.
* Exposed pipes in the attic, basement or crawl space can also be at risk of freezing. Leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet farthest away from the water meter can be helpful. You can also wrap insulating material or electrical wire heating wrap around the pipes. This can be purchased at any home improvement store.
* Never use a propane torch or an open flame to thaw a pipe due to the risk of igniting wood beams, flooring and other combustible materials around pipes. Hair dryers should also be avoided due to the risk of electrocution.
Frozen pipes burst because as water freezes, it expands. With enough expansion, pipes can develop cracks which are not apparent at first, but begin to leak when the ice melts. In the case of a broken pipe, shut off the water valve and contact a professional plumber or restoration company. They are equipped and skilled to remedy any water damage.