Preventing the Winter Woes: Protecting Home Pipes from Freezing and Bursting

(November 10, 2014) Taking preventative measures prior to the approaching cold snap can save home owners the money, stress and headaches that accompany the costly damage frozen pipes cause.

"Last year, the polar vortex left many homes and homeowners in dire situations," stated Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. "We encourage homeowners to follow these tips and take preventative measures that can save them a lot of time and money this winter."

Before the freezing arctic weather sets in, homeowners should follow these steps to ensure their home is guarded against the extreme winter weather.

  • Basement doors, home windows and any crawl spaces should be sufficiently sealed with weather-stripping, caulk and sealant.
  • Insulate all exposed pipes with pipe insulation or thick cloth (like towels.) In addition, cover outdoor faucets with insulation.
  • Know where the home's main water shut-off valve is located. (Video directions)
  • Let your sink run a drip of water - this keeps the water from freezing inside the pipes.
  • Open cabinets and doors inside to allow the home heat to circulate and keep the pipes warm. However, close garage doors when coming and going as this is a common way home pipes are frozen.
  • Have a hair dryer handy, in case your pipes do freeze. Heat the exterior of the pipe with the hair dryer by slowly applying the heat and moving the dryer constantly. The first step to safely thawing frozen pipes is turning off water at the main water shut-off valve. Next, open the nearest faucet to allow water to drain as the ice melts. Now it’s time to use the hair dryer to heat the pipes, or you can wrap a hot, wet rag around pipes. Do not attempt to thaw exposed frozen pipes with an open flame, such as an acetylene torch.

As the freezing weather sets in unusually early, homeowners are encouraged to take preventative precautions to safeguard their home against the elements. ““This can be a stressful time for homeowners, and we understand the urgency they feel," Thompson said. ”That is why Mr. Rooter Plumbing is always available around the clock to help those having a plumbing emergency."