When it’s too late to insulate, these tricks help avoid frozen pipes

Winter arrived abruptly in the last two weeks, and with it the chances for frozen pipes. Please read these six steps to help yourself avoid a costly mess.

  • Open the closets. Water pipes may run in the wall behind a closet. A full or closed closet effectively blocks room heat from penetrating the wall and into the pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors. This lets warm air circulate to the water lines under the faucet. Get up at night. Periodically run the faucets and flush the commode to move standing water.
  • Shut off the water. If there is no heat due to a power outage, shut off the supply line. If traveling during the winter, even for a day or two, shut off the main. By the way, a shut off is of no use if it can’t be turned, so test it before it is needed.
  • Trickle the faucet. Because moving water is less likely to freeze, as a last resort, let the water run just a trickle overnight.
  • Use the hair dryer. Freezing pipes can be warmed by moving a hair dryer across the pipe, but do not hold the nozzle in one place for long.

If the worst happens and a pipe or joint seam fails turn off your main water supply and contact a plumber. Get more information on how to prevent and thaw frozen pipes from the American Red Cross.