Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter
Winter is here, and with freezing temperatures could come frozen pipes. Plumbing breaks and flood damage can be incredibly costly, so preparation is key to keep your pipes from freezing. Follow these easy steps to prevent expensive plumbing repairs.
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Water Main: Locate your house’s water main shut-off valve. In case of a water emergency, you will need to shut off all water flow to the home, and this time-saving knowledge could save you thousands in case of a burst pipe.
Exterior Pipes: Locate all outdoor spigots and unhook, drain and store all your hoses, covering your spigots with insulated spigot sleeves. Locate all other exterior pipes like swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines and any other exposed pipes running along exterior walls of your home. On these, install insulated pipe sleeves that slip right over the pipes. You can find these at any home supply store, but you can also use bubble wrap, a towel or a blanket to help protect these pipes.
Attic, Basement and Crawl Space Pipes: Install pipe sleeves on both cold and hot water pipes in attics, basements and crawl spaces. You can also put in regular fiberglass insulation, or you can install a heat lamp in crawl spaces and cold basements. However, never leave heat lamps or heaters unattended for too long, and don’t allow them to get too hot or near combustible materials that could catch fire.
Cold Air Entry Points: Walk around the perimeter of your home and locate all the foundation and attic vents. Then simply cut foam board insulation to fit in these vents and pop them in. This will help keep cold air out and keep the warm air in. For larger areas such as attic peaks, install larger foam board insulation from the interior side. With caulk, seal all air leaks around the foundation or other places in your home that could be allowing in cold air, such as electrical wiring, dryer vents or pipe entry points.
- When you know temperatures will be dipping below freezing, simply allow water to run in all the sinks at a slow, constant drip. It only needs to trickle, and that tiny amount of water will keep the water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.
- Open up the cabinet doors in the bathrooms and kitchen. This will allow the heat from the home to circulate and warm up the pipes.
- Keep the garage door closed to keep garage pipes from freezing.
- Keep your house at a warm, consistent temperature both day and night.
- If you leave your home for extended periods of time, do not set your thermostat lower than 55 decrees.
- If you do end up with frozen pipes, a hand-held hair dryer or heat lamp can thaw them.
Long-term solution: Install R-21 insulation to your attics, basements and crawl spaces to maintain warmth in those areas.
Damage: If your home is damaged as a result of burst pipes or winter weather ServiceMaster Restore® can help get your home back to normal as quickly as possible with the following services*:
- Water damage restoration
- Drying, dehumidification and water extraction
- Document drying and recovery
- Mold remediation
- Carpet, rug and upholstery cleaning
*Services vary by local provider.
Photo by: ServiceMaster Restore®
The technicians know the effects of water damage on a wide variety of structural surfaces and are experts at both damage mitigation and reducing overall severity. Even though burst pipes aren’t covered in the AHS coverage, SMR can help. If you need to reach a technician, call 800-Restore.
Should you find yourself with other plumbing-related problems, a Home Warranty Plan from American Home Shield can help protect your budget against expensive repairs. Learn about the different coverage options.