Plumbing Blog

Top Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes This Winter

It is officially October, which means Old Man Winter is sharpening his talons, getting ready to wreak havoc on your plumbing! You know what we’re talking about: frozen pipes, bursting water lines, and dreaded frosted outdoor faucets. With a little knowledge and some preventative tips from the Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service pros, you and your plumbing can successfully make it through winter unscathed.

When and Why Pipes Freeze

Studies show that the onset of pipe freezing begins when the outside temperature reaches 20° F, although under the right conditions, it can happen at even warmer temperatures. When water in your pipes freezes, it expands – sometimes so much that it causes your pipes to burst. The resulting loss of running water is a huge inconvenience. Not only that, but bursting pipes can also cause serious damage to your property. In order to prevent freezing pipes, focus your efforts on the right ones using the right strategies.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Try the following tactics to keep the chill out this winter:

  • Learn the layout of your home. With the most exposure to the cold, pipes located along exterior walls and in attics and basements are the ones to watch for when the temperature drops.
  • Make sure your home, especially the attic, basement, or crawl spaces, are properly insulated.
  • Wrap any un-insulated pipes in a blanket of foam available from a home hardware store. Focus on the most vulnerable pipes for the most bang for your buck. For added protection, Roto Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service can install heat tape on the pipes to keep them warm and prevent freezing.
  • In extreme cold, unless you have a septic tank, leave one faucet dripping cold water to keep the water running and thus less likely to freeze. Additionally, inspect for any leaks and repairs necessary before the freezing weather hits to protect your plumbing network.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Try using a fan to blow warm air into connected crawl spaces to raise the temperature of nearby pipes.
  • Don’t forget about the outdoor faucets! Remove any and all hoses before the temperature drops to freezing, inspect for leaks, and drain as much water as possible from the faucet. Lastly, insulate the outdoor faucet with a hose bib cover to prevent it from freezing.

So, You Have a Frozen Pipe

A pipe may be frozen if:

  • The temperature is right. (Start taking precautions once the temperature falls to 32° F or lower.)
  • There is frost on the pipe.
  • You have no running water.
  • You smell strange odors from your drain or pipes, which could be a sign of a blockage.

If you do in fact have a frozen pipe, time is of the essence! Contact your Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service specialists who are capable of restoring the unwanted effects of dreaded Old Man Winter.

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