Winter is fast approaching, and now is the time to prepare your home so your pipes don’t freeze!

Frozen pipes often burst, which can lead to thousands of dollars of water damage in your home. So, to help you avoid this kind of home-plumbing disaster, we put together this blog to teach you how to prevent frozen pipes and fix them if they do end up freezing.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

We’ve covered this extensively in past blogs already (which you can read here), but here is a quick overview.

  • Replace any pipes or plumbing fixtures in poor condition. Make sure to check the water supply lines of all your major appliances! (And head here for any replacement supply lines you need.)
  • Drain all outside pipes, and any pipes in basements, garages, sheds or other places that won’t be kept warm during winter of all water. 
  • Close and drain all outside plumbing fixtures and faucets, including hoses. If any outside faucets are in poor condition, make sure to replace those as well. (For an easily installed outdoor spigot, that comes with convenient on/off switch for cold seasons, check out the Water Wigot!)
  • Keep all unheated pipes warm – Any pipes that won’t be kept warm by your heating (like those in your garage or basement) you can keep warm with extra layers of insulation and/or heat tape. 
  • Keep your faucets dripping – on the coldest days of winter, when temperatures go below freezing, turn on your faucets just enough to keep them dripping. The flow of the water will help prevent them from freezing. 

How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, pipes still freeze. You’ll know this happens if you turn on a faucet and no water comes out. 

If this happens, you still have a chance of avoiding a burst pipe, by carefully thawing them. This can be dangerous if not done correctly, so make sure to read thoroughly, and be careful!

Step 1 – Open the faucet.

It’s very important to open the faucet of the pipe you’re working to un-freeze so that the water and steam that comes from thawing has a place to go.

Step 2 – Thaw the frozen pipe. 

Apply heat to the frozen pipe, using heat tape, a heat cable, or an electric heating pad, heat lamp, space heater or hair-dryer.

NEVER use open-flame devices like blowtorches, propane/kerosene heaters, or a charcoal stove. Also make sure to clear the area of any and all flammable materials, in case of a freak accident, because we all know water and electricity don’t mix!

Once you’ve chosen your safe heat-source, apply heat to the pipe until water is flowing from the open faucet normally.