Air pipes

Take measures to prevent water pipes from freezing

After waking up on a cold winter morning, nothing starts the day off right like a hot shower. But that shower may need to be delayed if low temperatures mean no water comes out of the tap due to frozen pipes.

Gina Peek, acting associate dean of outreach, engagement, and continuing education at Oklahoma State University, said the best thing an owner can do is be proactive and take steps to prevent pipes from freezing long before the problem occurs.

“A broken pipe can be expensive to fix, not to mention the water damage your home could sustain,” Peek said. “Keep in mind that water expands when it freezes, which puts a lot of pressure on your water pipes, whether metal or plastic.”

Check around your home for water supply lines that may be more susceptible to freezing, such as those in unheated areas like a basement, attic, garage, and crawl spaces.

“You may want to consider installing specific products designed to insulate water pipes. For example, easy-to-install foam insulation that wraps around the pipe,” Peek said. “Check for leaks around where the pipe enters the house and seal it to prevent even more cold air from entering the space. water exposed.

Other steps owners should consider include:

Draining and storing garden hoses, as well as closing interior valves supplying exterior hose bibs.

During a cold snap, be sure to keep your garage doors closed if there are water supply lines there.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes. If you have young children at home, be sure to remove all harmful cleaners and other household chemicals from these cabinets.

Make sure the home’s heating system is in good working order and left on.

Let cold water drip from any faucets on an exterior wall. Running water in pipes is less likely to freeze.

If you discover that the pipes have frozen, shut off the water supply and contact a plumber for help. Contact your insurance company if necessary. Never thaw a pipe with an open flame and remember that water and electricity do not mix. Be aware of the risk of electrocution in and around standing water.

“If there’s a history of frozen pipes causing problems in your home, consider having a licensed plumber move them,” Peek said. “Also consider adding extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. The cost of these preventive measures is negligible compared to the cost of repairing a broken pipe and water damage.