Our weather in the Northwest can wreak havoc on our homes and water pipes. The last thing you want to invite into your home for the holidays is a plumbing emergency. Take these steps to prevent a costly frozen pipe disaster.
Outdoor plumbing tips
• Close all foundation vents and fill the vents with styrofoam blocks or wood to prevent cold wind from reaching unprotected pipes.
• Disconnect garden hoses and be sure to drain all in-ground irrigation systems.
• Cover outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation. Use molded foam insulation covers, newspaper, or rags and wrap in plastic.
Indoor plumbing protection
• Check your attic, crawl space, basement and other non-heated areas to insulate and protect.
• Open cupboard doors in the kitchen and in your bathrooms to allow plumbing to gain more heat from your home.
• If you’re planning on heading out of town, put your furnace on a low setting to help prevent freezing pipes by keeping the temperature of the home slightly elevated.
• When temperatures drop below freezing, use a slow drip of cold water to keep your faucet from freezing.
What to do if pipes freeze
When a pipe freezes it can cause a buildup of pressure inside the pipe, causing it to burst and leak. Safely thaw plumbing lines with a carefully monitored heat lamp, hot wash cloth, or common hair dryer. When thawed, leave a small amount of water dripping to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
What to do if pipes break
• Shut off the main water line to prevent additional water from damaging your home. Open the faucets to relieve any remaining pressure.
• Turn off the water heater and shut-off the valve on the cold-water inlet.
• If there is any water damage to the area, be sure to clean quickly to prevent mold.
• Call a professional plumber to repair the issue.