Preparing Your Water Pipes for Winter
Every winter, many homeowners face the expense and inconvenience of frozen water pipes – make sure you’re not one of them by taking a few simple precautions.
Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses
Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas
Consider installing “heat tape” or “heat cable”
Seal off access doors, air vents, and cracks
Find the master shutoff valve
Check with your water company
What if it’s too late?
During an extended cold spell, your pipes can freeze, even if you take all the proper precautions. If you think you know where the freeze occurred and and want to try thawing it yourself, the easiest tool to use is a hair dryer with a low heat seating. DO NOT under any circumstances use an open flame. Using the hair dryer, wave the warm air back and forth along the pipe. DO NOT heat only one spot on the pipe, as this can cause it to burst. If you don’t have a hair dryer, you can wrap the frozen section with rags or towels and pour hot water over them. It’s messy, but it works.
Be careful when heating the pipe. It may already be broken and just not leaking because the water is frozen. When you thaw it out, the water could come gushing out. Be ready to run for the master shutoff valve if necessary.