How You Can Prevent Frozen Pipes in Your HomeThe harsh winters in Columbus are unforgiving, with temperatures routinely dipping below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. When the outside temperature is lower than the freezing point of water, frozen pipes become a risk that local homeowners need to think about and prepare for. During a hard freeze, any water that's sitting inside of your pipes can easily turn into solid ice, especially in pipes that are in unheated crawlspaces or up against an exterior wall. Water has the unique property of expanding as it freezes, and ice inside of a pipe can exert over two thousand pounds per square inch of force, potentially causing the pipe to burst. The damage from a burst pipe can cost thousands of dollars to fix, but fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to help prevent frozen pipes in your Columbus home.
Preventing Your Pipes from Freezing
- Let a tiny bit of water drip continuously from your faucets. When the water is running, it's less likely to freeze into ice.
- Keep your garage door closed during the winter. Pipes inside of your garage are some of the most susceptible to freezing. Keeping the garage door closed whenever possible will help keep the temperature up inside.
- Temporarily seal off crawlspace vents around the foundation. This will help keep cold outdoor air out, helping keep water inside your pipes in its liquid state.
- Keep your furnace or heater running overnight. Turning the heat down at night can save some money, but any savings you'll experience will be cancelled out by the expense of repairing frozen pipes. Keeping your home at a constant 55 degrees or higher at all times is one of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes.
- Run your heater, even when you're not at home. Even when you and your family are gone during the day, your home should still be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent frozen pipes.
- Turn your main water valve off when you're out of town. If you're going to be out of town, shutting off your home's main water valve is one of the best ways to prevent frozen pipes.
- Drain water out of your sprinklers and swimming pools, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Cover your outside hose bibs, and drain your garden hoses out and store them indoors.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you already have a frozen pipe, but it hasn't burst, you may still be able to thaw it out and avoid expensive permanent damage. If your faucet only emits a tiny trickle of water when you turn it on, then chances are, you have a frozen pipe. Here are some things that you can do to thaw out the ice and restore normal water flow.
- Keep your faucet open and uncovered.
- Let a tiny trickle of water run continuously through the pipes. This will help the ice to melt faster.
- Apply heat directly to the pipe. You can use towels soaked in hot water or electric heating pads to warm the outside of the pipe, melting the ice inside. You could also use hair dryers to apply hot air, although you should take extra caution with any electrical appliance around your potentially wet pipes.
If you can't access the frozen pipe, or you otherwise can't get it to thaw completely, you can always call an HVAC professional to come help you safely thaw out frozen pipes to prevent them from bursting and restore water flow.