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Frozen pipes covered in ice

Protecting Your Home from Frozen Pipes

Neglecting your plumbing during the winter months may lead to frozen pipes and disastrous results. Frozen water in pipes creates excess pressure that ultimately causes plumbing lines to burst.

Water leaking from compromised piping can not only damage your home but also create large water bills in a matter of minutes. If not repaired quickly, water leaks may also lead to mold issues that can damage walls, floors, and ceilings as well as your family’s health.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

The only way to prevent water from freezing in your plumbing system is to prevent it in the first place. Before the cold temperatures of winter, a little preparation will go a long way in protecting your pipes from freezing conditions. Follow these steps to prevent any cold weather plumbing issues:

  1. Locate your main water valve. Knowing the location of your valve and how to operate it will help you shut off water should pipes freeze or leaks occur.
  2. Understand where potential problem areas lie. Exposed piping in crawl spaces, attics, ceiling or outside walls must be wrapped and protected before cold weather sets in.
  3. Seal areas of the home where gaps allow cold air to come in contact with piping. In severe cold weather and winds, small gaps allow cold air to circulate around pipes and freeze them.

What to Do When Cold Weather Strikes

When weather stations forecast freezing temperatures, it is vital to protect your plumbing, especially if you have not previously taken steps to winterize your pipes. The best method is to trickle cold and hot water so that it runs through the pipes. Seal off crawl spaces and attics to keep warmth in, and run your home’s heater to keep the house warm.

When Frozen Pipes Happen

Homeowners that winterize their pipes and take precautions to protect plumbing from freezing conditions may still experience frozen pipes. The first sign that indicates frozen water in the pipes is when there is no or reduced flow to fixtures. When the water stops flowing from faucets completely, the best action to take is to turn off the main water valve while leaving faucets open. Never use open flame to thaw pipes and do not use electric dryers or heaters directly on pipes since leaking water may cause electrocution. When water begins flowing again, turn off the main water valve and open faucets in the lowest part of your home, usually the basement or first floor.

Contacting a plumber when pipes freeze is not usually necessary. Warmer temperatures and a little patience will usually result in thawed plumbing. If frozen pipes do burst in your home, then you will likely need to call Pride Plumbing of Rochester at (585) 271-7150 to assist you with detecting leaks and replacing damaged plumbing.