It seems that old Jack Frost has bitten North East Ohio again, as hundreds of homeowners have dealt with frozen water lines from the weekend's freeze. Unfortunately, the forecast for the next few days are calling for even colder temperatures with no relent on homeowner's plumbing disasters.
While we want you to know that Plumbing 911 is there when you need us, (for pipe thawing, leaking/burst water lines and flood/water cleanup and drying) we hope that these tips from our Master Plumber and Owner, Keith Miller helps you melt Jack Frosts' nasty attempt to freeze your home and your budget.
Frozen Water Line Tips and Tricks:
- Insulate It: Check your insulation in both crawl spaces and attics where piping meets. Typically, frozen lines occur near exposed piping against walls of your home. For example, if your water lines in your basement are exposed and are lying against the cold concrete blocking wall and also your basement is cold, this may result in a frozen line.
- Air Leaks: Look for air leaks where pipes are located. For example, if your basement is naturally cold but also has a window or window well and dryer vent allowing air to creep near pipes, see if you can use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.
- Shut Off Valves: Ensure that for each faucet or waterline in your home, that it has it's own shut off valve. In case of a leak, you will then be able to shut water off to that direct source, instead of shutting the water off to your whole property. Also, make sure that the main water shut off to your whole home works in case of a major water leak issue, to curb off any flood situation.
- Outside Hoses: Remove all hoses from outside hose faucets and make sure the faucet is turned all the way off with no leaks. If you have an indoor valve you can also shut off and drain water from the pipes leading to outside faucets to help reduce the chance of freezing in the short span of this pipe.
- Let it Drip: At night time, when there is below zero temperatures, we recommend allowing a trickle of hot and cold water through your faucets to keep your pipes from freezing. Let the water drip (a slight stream) overnight, it's okay to do this and this tip can potentially save you thousands from a pipe/flooding nightmare.
- Keep the Thermostat Set: Very important - Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. Some people turn their thermostat down overnight, because they have warm blankets to sleep in; however, do this on severe winter nights can allow your pipes to freeze. Guard your pipes; give them a little heat blanket with keeping the temperature up at night.
- Open Cabinets: Another very important tip: open your cabinet doors to bathroom and kitchen sink plumbing to ensure there is a source of heat wrapping your pipes through the night. Even though this may ruin your fun
If your pipes do freeze, you will notice that nothing comes out of faucets when turned on.
Here are some tips of what we recommend you do, if this happens at your home.
- Shut off the water to the particular faucet that has no water. If you do not have a shut off valve for this specific faucet, then keep an eye out for signs of leaking around the area including walls and ceilings. If you notice a leak, immediately shut the water off to the whole house to prevent flooding.
- Some people try thawing pipes with a hair dryer, but we haven't seen success with this method. There are heat guns and other techniques that a professional plumber can help with to thaw your pipes in hope of ensuring they do not burst, leak and cause serious plumbing issues.
- We recommend everyone living in the home knows where the main water shut off valve is located. Most people don't understand that a flood situation can be just as serious as having a fire at your home. Likely places for the shut off valve to be located are running against exterior walls where water service enters a home through the foundation.
Remember, if you do need help, call Plumbing 911 today - We're There When You Need Us!