When temperatures drop below freezing, the water in your pipes can freeze. Water expands when it freezes, which can put tremendous pressure on your pipes. If the pressure becomes too great, it can cause your pipes to crack—leading to leaks once things thaw out again.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Of course, preventing problems before they arise is always the preferred approach. While some plumbing issues are unavoidable, proper preparation can save your pipes from freezing in most cases.
The best way to prevent your pipes from freezing are:
- Maintain a moderate temperature inside your home. Even if you’re going away for an extended period of time, it’s important to keep your heat on in order to properly maintain your home’s plumbing system.
- Disconnect and drain your spigot. Pipes that reach outside of the home have the highest risk of freezing. Even if you have a “freeze-proof” spigot for your garden hose, you should always make sure the water is turned off and any excess water is drained out.
- Keep a slow drip in the sink. In cases of extreme cold—especially if your power goes out during a snowstorm—allowing a small stream of water to flow from your faucet and down the drain will keep water moving through your pipes. Moving water takes longer to freeze than still water. So, with any luck, that steady flow will prevent your pipes from freezing.
Fixing Frozen Pipes
In the event that your pipes do freeze, the most important first step is to remain calm. While a pipe burst may seem like the worst thing that can happen, it’s actually quite common and (in most cases) easy for a professional to address.
Here’s what to do when your pipes freeze:
- Turn off the main water valve. In order to prevent water from pouring in and leaking all over the place, shutting off the supply is your best bet.
- Call in a professional. Even though it may seem like an easy fix, attempting to remedy frozen pipes on your own could result in more problems.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing offers emergency service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are facing frozen pipes—even if it’s in the middle of the night during a snowstorm—we are here to help and are more than happy to fix the problem for you.