Preventing and Dealing With Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipe

Frozen water pipes can be an inconvenience at best and a disaster at worst for your southern New Jersey home: a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release 250 gallons of water a day, which is enough to fill about three average-sized bathtubs.

That volume of water can cause a lot of damage, both structural and cosmetic, to your home – to the tune of many thousands of dollars if the problem is severe enough. The stakes get even higher if you develop a mold problem, which can affect the health of everyone living in your home.

The good news is that by taking a few simple precautions, you can prevent frozen pipes and the problems they can cause. Here are some tips from our plumbing experts for preventing frozen pipes, and some advice for dealing with them once they happen.

Before winter:

  • Insulate pipes in un-insulated spaces (crawl spaces, attic, etc.)
  • Seal air leaks near and around pipes using caulk or insulation.
  • Shut off water to outdoor faucets and drain these water pipes

In frigid weather:

  • Run a trickle of hot water down your pipes to keep them from freezing, using the hot water tap that is furthest from the water heater.
  • Make sure your thermostat is set high enough to keep your pipes warm as temperatures drop overnight; do not turn off your heating system completely.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks.

If you are going on vacation or own a second home that sits empty in winter:

  • Set the house thermostat to no lower than 55°F; do NOT turn the heat off.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your home during cold snaps.
  • Shut off and drain your water system before heating season.

If your pipes have frozen:

  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer if you start by warming the pipe close to the faucet and work toward the coldest section of pipe; never use an open flame to thaw pipes.
  • If this approach doesn’t work, contact a professional plumber.

If your water pipes have already burst:

  • Turn off water at the main shutoff valve in the house; if you don’t know how to do this, contact us. Teach everyone in your family where the water shutoff valve is and how to close it.
  • Once you have closed the main shutoff valve, contact a plumber.

Need emergency plumbing service for your South Jersey home? Our plumbing experts are standing by. Contact us to schedule your plumbing service today.