Extremely cold weather will cause tremendous damage to a home if it’s not properly protected. The following are a few tips to help you protect yourself from frozen water lines
- Disconnect all garden hoses from outside faucets. Water held in the hose and faucet will freeze and burst the attached piping. This holds true even if you have a “Freeze Proof” faucet.
- Close all foundation vents on your home. Cold temps combined with a little wind will freeze piping in your homes crawl space if there is an opening for it to come in. Seal all areas where cold and wind can get in.
- Open cabinet doors on sinks placed on outside or exterior walls and keep the heat open to the piping. If you have an area that doesn’t get enough heat and it has plumbing (i.e. sink, toilet, water heater) make certain that it is protected against the freezing temperatures. Running a small amount of water from your faucet will keep the water flowing and lessen the chance of freezing if you are unable to protect it with heat.
- Keep your house above 68 degrees if possible.
In the event that you do have frozen pipes, here are a few suggestions.
- If you have a broken water line, locate the main shut off valve for your home and turn it off. If you don’t know where this is, you can also turn your water off at the water meter at the road.
- Do not leave your home unattended if the pipes freeze. Even if you can’t hear water running. Many times the damage comes after the pipes thaw and water begins flowing again.
- Once the water is turned off, call your plumber and if necessary, your insurance agent, if damage is present.
- If water doesn’t flow from your piping it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will break. Some piping is less prone to bursting than others. For instance, galvanized steel (used in older homes) and polybutylene piping rarely bursts, but will freeze. If this is the case, you can usually wait till temperatures warm up, or place heat in the area of the frozen piping. Never use open flame but rather an electric heater or hair dryer.
- Locate the number of your Plumber, Heating contractor, water company, local fire department (not 911), and water damage cleanup company (i.e. Servpro or ServiceMaster). In the event that you can’t get a plumber to your home immediately to turn off the water you may be able to call your water system provider or local fire department to turn the water off.