What Homeowners Should Know About Frozen Pipes

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For any homeowner, being met with a frozen pipe is basically a nightmare come true. Fortunately, you can minimize not only your risk for damage from a frozen pipe, but you can also take proactive steps to keep this scenario from ever occurring happening. Here is everything you need to know about protecting your home from this issue.

When Your Pipes Freeze

Here are some safe and practical tips you can apply when faced with this scenario.

Turn Off the Water—Turn off the main water supply. Pipe cracking is the greatest threat that comes along with frozen pipes. In the frozen state, you don't notice this issue since the ice serves as somewhat of a patch over the openings. However, once the pipe thaws and the ice dissolves, your home could quickly turn into the indoor pool you always wanted.

Prepare for the Worst—Even if you've turned off the main water supply, whatever water that is remaining in the pipes may start to leak out if there is any cracking. To minimize damage to your flooring and other surfaces, have a bucket or other container nearby to collect the water in the event of a leak. Leave the bucket in place for several hours to stay on the safe side.

Apply Heat—Once you've turned off the power and prepared your bucket, wrap the pipe with an insulating blanket, towel or regular blanket. Next, you can either pour hot water over the towel or use a blow dryer. The heat will be absorbed in the material wrapped around the pipe to help it heat up faster. Keep in mind that if the pipe is frozen in several areas, this method may not work.

Prevent a Freeze

Since prevention is always the best medicine, make sure you know what to do.

Insulate—Insulating the pipes whenever you know freezing temperatures are on the way is the most effective way to prevent frozen pipes. To achieve this, use an insulating pipe blanket or foam to securely wrap around the pipe. If you live in a particularly cold climate, it might be a good idea to keep them insulated the entire winter.

Keep a Drip—It's also a good idea to always leave at least a drip of water coming from the pipe during periods of cold. Even a small drip keeps movement in the pipe which can in turn minimize the likelihood of a freeze. Make sure you're applying this tip to every faucet in your home for the best outcome.

If you're unable to thaw your pipes on your own, go to websites to call on a plumbing company to eliminate further damage.