When the temperature drops below 32 degrees F, water in your pipes can freeze and burst. To safeguard your pipes against bursting during periods of frigid temperatures, you can use a couple of simple precautions to protect your pipes.
You can wrap exposed pipes in insulating material to keep them from freezing. If you cannot insulate the pipes, direct your efforts to protect the pipes that are located near windows, exterior walls, or in an unheated area. Open cabinets that conceal the pipes. This will allow warm air from the room to circulate around the pipes.
If your garage is not heated or insulated, cracking the garage door allows heat from the house to reach vulnerable pipes and any plumbing equipment in the garage. Be sure to set the thermostat no lower than 60 degrees, especially if you are going to be gone for a couple of days. For slab foundations, keep the garage door closed.
If you have had problems with frozen pipes in the past, try running a small steady stream of water from a cold-water faucet during extremely cold temperatures. If your pipes freeze, the ice will thaw as daytime temperatures rise, but keep in mind the following: If you’re going to be at home, open a faucet, wait until water begins flowing again, and listen for leaks.
Water expands when it freezes, and this can cause leaks in your pipes. If you discover a leak, turn off the water supply to your home at the main shut-off valve and contact a plumber. If you’re planning to leave your home, turn off your water supply at the main shut-off valve.
Here are more quick tips for prevention & recovery from cold weather conditions as it pertains to water pipes this winter:
PREVENT YOUR PIPES FROM FREEZING
Disconnect all outside garden hoses.
Install an insulating cover over all outside faucets.
Wrap pipes near external walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or heating tape.
Close all windows near water pipes.
If you can’t close the air vents in your crawl space, cover them.
If you have a basement, heat it.
Install weather sealing, caulk, or tape to your windows.
Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period, shut off the water supply valve to your washing machine.
MONITORING FREEZING PIPE CONDITIONS
The first sign of a frozen pipe is reduced water flow from a faucet. Allow a faucet to drip slightly (lukewarm water) to minimize freezing.
Check your faucets for water flow and pressure before you go to sleep and again when you wake up.
Identify and insulate cold air drafts to prevent cold air from a flue, chimney, or exterior door from coming in.
IF A PIPE FREEZES
If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid using a hair dryer around standing water.)
To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipe.
When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet.
Make sure the faucet is turned on so that the melted water can drip.
**If you have any concerns regarding the prevention and recovery of frozen pipes in your home, contact the Murfreesboro Water Resources Department at 615-848-3209.