Here's a list of tips from the Red Cross on how to prevent frozen pipes and what to do when pipes do freeze.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
- Leave the heat on in the home, even while out of town. Set to a temperature no lower than 13 C or 55 F.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If only a trickle of water comes out when taps are turned on, suspect a frozen pipe. Here are some tips on what do when pipes freeze:
Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where water service enters the home through the foundation.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
- Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If the frozen area can’t be found, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if the pipe cannot be thawed, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in the home to find out if there are additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
Future Protection- Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing. Pipes can be relocated by a professional if the home is remodeled.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- For more information, please contact a licensed plumber or building professional.