2/13/15 – FUN FACT FRIDAY – Preventing Frozen Pipes

Burst pipes are difficult and expensive to fix. Not to mention the damage that they can do. A small break in a pipe can empty thousands of gallons of unwanted water into your house.

The first step is to insulate your water pipes. Foam pipe jackets are inexpensive and easy to apply to exposed pipes. Slip foam-rubber insulation over pipe, peel away backing strips, and then press the adhesive surfaces together. At pipe corners, miter-cut the ends of the foam-rubber insulation with scissors, then secure the corner joint with foam tape.

Moving cold air on the pipes helps to cause freezing. Seal all penetrations to the outside with proper insulation. Expanding foam really works well here.

On very cold days it is a good idea to leave a faucet or two open enough to just let a small drip through. This keeps water flowing in your home which is much more difficult to freeze than standing water.
Before attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, open the faucet. If you can locate the ice blockage use a heat gun or blow dryer to thaw frozen pipe slowly. When water begins to flow through the faucet the moving water will also help the blockage to thaw. Do not use an open flame to thaw; this could cause more damage by cracking the pipe.

If you can’t find the area of the blockage, or it is not accessible, use an electric pipe-thawing machine. One in a million homeowners own these machines and most of them are plumbers. Your choices here are to rent one or call a plumber that has one.

If you decide to rent one, find the exposed ends of the pipe, and then place one clamp from the machine onto each pipe; the machine will warm the pipe and eventually melt the blockage.

 

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