Growing up on farm in wide open spaces, there were plenty of opportunities to experience frozen pipes and from what I recall they're not fond memories. With arctic like temperatures and wind chills headed our way, there may be plenty of opportunities for more experiences. The American Red Cross offer some tips on how to keep pipes from freezing, and heaven help us, if it does happen, how to thaw them safely.

  • If you have pipes running through the garage, keep the door closed.
  • Open cabinet doors around the pipes allowing warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Allow the cold water faucet to drip, just a small trickle will help prevent freezing.
  • Turn off night time settings on your thermostat and let your home maintain a steady temperature.
  • If you're going to leave your home for an extended time, leave the temperature at 55.
  • The biggest challenge is finding where a pipe is frozen. Usually it will be along an exterior wall or where the pipes enter the foundation of your home.
  • Heat the area frozen by wrapping a heating pad or towels soaked in hot water around the pipe.
  • Blow warm air on the pipe with an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater or reverse an an old canister vacuum.
  • Keep the faucet open while warming the pipes. As the water begins to thaw, flowing water will make the job go faster.
  • Keep applying the heat until full water pressure returns.

A couple of don'ts. Never use an an open flame like a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater or charcoal stove to thaw pipes.

Get more tips from the American Red Cross website.


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