Frozen Pipes Preventative Maintenance

Compliments of DCAMM:

Frozen Pipes Preventative Maintenance

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
• Shut outside air dampers.
• Check stairwells especially those with sprinklers installed.
• Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
• Keep your building temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if unoccupied for an extended period of time.
• Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
• Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
• Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
• Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
• Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
• Insulate outside walls and unheated areas.
• Check your fuel supplies.
Monitor Freezing Pipe Conditions
• Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) in order to minimize freezing.
• The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet.
• Check your faucets for water flow and pressure periodically.
• Check pipes around your water meter, in unheated areas, near exterior walls and in crawl spaces.
• These tend to be vulnerable to freezing conditions.
• Identify cold air drafts coming in from a flue or chimney chase and caulk gaps that are near pipes.
If a Pipe Freezes
• If a faucet or pipe freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water.)
• To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes.
• When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
If a Pipe Bursts
• Shut off water at the main valve.
• If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of the water heater should be closed.
• Call a plumber. Keep an emergency number nearby for quick access.