Everyone remembers the Great Polar Vortex of 2014Blasts of arctic air brought astonishingly cold temperatures to the Atlanta Area and across the United States. And that meant frozen pipes, burst pipes and all the water damage they can cause. Are you prepared for the colder temperatures this weekend?
Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. By keeping your water warmer, you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water in the cold, winter months.
Place an insulating dome or other covering on outdoor faucets and spigots to reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.
Allow a slow drip from your faucets to reduce the buildup of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, the release pressure in the water system will reduce the likelihood of a rupture.
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Prevent pipes from freezing:
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
If your pipes do freeze, here are five things you should do and one thing you should NOT do:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- If you cannot find the frozen area, if the area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.