With sub-freezing weather on the way to Colorado, here’s how to prevent frozen pipes and how to thaw them.
DENVER — Frozen pipes can be more than just an inconvenience to a resident.
If a pipe breaks due to freezing, it can cause serious damage to a home when the water thaws.
Denver Water offers advice on how to prevent water pipes from freezing and what can be done if they burst.
Every resident should know where the water shutoff valve is located in their home. This is essential so that it can be found quickly if water starts flowing from a broken pipe.
Denver Water suggests that if temperatures drop below -5° Fahrenheit, residents should take precautions to prevent pipes from freezing.
Tips to prevent frozen pipes
- Open the cabinet doors under the sink to allow house air to keep the pipes warm.
- If there is a garage attached to the house, keep those doors closed. “Sometimes the plumbing is routed through this unheated space, leaving it vulnerable to the worst winters,” according to Denver Water.
- Find the faucet furthest from where the water enters the house and let it drip slowly. Allowing water to move through the pipes will reduce the risk of water freezing. Place a bucket in the sink to catch the dripping water, so it can be saved for other household uses.
- Set the thermostat above 65° if you leave the house for several days.
What to do if a pipe is frozen
- If a pipe has previously frozen, Denver Water said it’s important to thaw the pipe immediately. Be sure to shut off the water to the house before you begin to thaw the pipe; this will prevent any potential flooding if the pipe has been broken.
- Do not use high intensity heating such as a blowtorch, as these can damage the pipes. The best practice is to use a hair dryer or heater to blow hot air into the area and melt the ice inside the pipes. Pipes that are heated too quickly can break, according to Denver Water.
- Check the affected area for leaks after the thaw to make sure the freeze hasn’t damaged your pipes.
- If accessing the frozen pipe is tricky, you don’t have the proper tools, or the pipe is broken, contact a plumber.
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