Preventing Frozen Pipes Through Bitter Weather
COLUMBIA - With bitterly cold weather approaching, this weekend is a great time to prevent your water pipes from becoming frozen. Frozen pipes can be an inconvenience. They can also turn into a big expense if a pipe breaks due to the water expanding as it freezes. In case a frozen pipe does break, make sure you know where the main water shut-off valve is located and it is working properly.
Columbia Water and Light provides the community with the following prevention tips:
• Remove hoses connected to outside faucets during the winter. If you have a valve for the faucet inside the house, close it and drain the remaining water outside.
• Check for other areas where water supply lines run through unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl spaces, attics, garages, by the washing machine and around sinks. Pipes running along exterior walls can also freeze. The long-term solution for problematic areas could include insulating pipes with foam pipe wrap, insulating the area where pipes run and sealing air leaks.
For short-term prevention:
• If you have plumbing that runs through unheated areas, open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to circulate.
• When extreme low temperatures hit, allow faucets connected to exposed pipes to slowly drip.
• Temporarily keep the thermostat set at the same temperature during the day and night.
• If you will be away during very cold weather, leave the thermostat set at no lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thawing Frozen Pipes:
• Keep the faucet open during the thawing process.
• Thaw section of frozen pipe by adding heat. First, remove any flammable items from the area. Use a space heater, blow dryer or an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe to gradually heat the pipe. Do not use any device with a flame like a blowtorch.
• Contact a plumber if the pipe is not accessible or you are unable to thaw the pipe.