When the temperature out there is biting cold, the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting increases. Such a mishap damages not only property but also wastes innumerable amount of water. It can also flood your home so be very careful about such incidents.
If the temperature has gone down below freezing which has made the water inside your pipes to freeze, it will eventually burst. In such a situation, the first thing you should do is switch off the main water supply. Thereafter, contact a professional plumber. After the measures are taken, take precautionary actions to avoid the same thing happening in the future.
High risks move around the pipes which are installed in unheated areas like the basement, garages, etc. as there is no source of heat in such areas, chances of pipes freezing in cold temperature increases drastically. There is also a chance of pipes freezing in exterior walls (source) due to less or no insulation. But you shouldn’t worry because you can easily keep the water running without the pipes bursting by a few simple ways.
When you notice the temperature falling, just follow these steps;
- If there are supply lines in your garage, keep them closed at all times.
- Open the cabinet doors wherever they are placed and allow warm air to come inside.
- If you have a leaky faucet, let it drip as even a bit of running water will prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Maintain the temperature of the thermostat to the same level during both day and night. Doing this will ensure that the inner temperature is warmer than the outside, real temperature.
- If you are not at home during the cold weathers, set a temperature of over 55 degrees Fahrenheit and leave the heat on in your home.
- For longer term and future aspect, the best way to prevent pipes from freezing is to add insulation to your basement, garage, etc. this will help in maintaining a higher temperature. Such insulation will cost as low as 50 cents in any of your hardware stores. This is a very inexpensive and effective way.
- Disconnect and drain the hoses outside as this will prevent the water is hoses from freezing and bursting the connected faucet/pipe.
- Make use of an electric heating pad near the pipes, for the time being. An electric hair dryer or portable heater could also work in providing heat to the pipes temporarily.
- Soak towels in warm water, dry it, and wrap around the pipe.
- Seal up the cracks and holes with the help of caulk (source). Do this on both interior and exterior out and keep the cold air out.
- An electrical heating tape is also an option for the pipes that are accessible/visible. Apply this tape directly to the pipe.
- If nothing works, call a licensed plumber and be quick. Waiting for too long can cause the pipes to burst which will eventually leave to a disaster.
- Relocate the pipes if possible to avoid such a risk in the future.