A frozen pipe is a disaster nobody wants to deal with, but extreme cold can leave anyone’s home vulnerable.
Strong winds, like the weather Northeastern Illinois will experience this week, can make pipes more susceptible to freezing. It makes it more likely that a draft will enter a home and drop the temperature further.
But there are several ways to winterize your pipes:
- Close garages – If there are pipes in your garage, make sure to keep the door closed to conserve heat.
- Open cabinets – Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinets will allow warmer air to circulate to the pipes.
- Let water drip – Let cold water drip from any faucets that are served by exposed pipes.
- Leave the heat on – If you plan on being out of town, make sure you do not turn the heat down.
- Insulate – As a long-term solution, add insulation to attics, basements, crawl spaces and other areas with housing pipes that are not climate-controlled.
If a pipe manages to freeze and burst despite all your efforts, be cautious when thawing, as water will begin to drip from the broken area. Additionally, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve before thawing broken pipes. Here are a few ways to thaw frozen pipes quickly:
- Turn on the faucet – As cold as it may be, running water through the pipe will help it thaw.
- Apply heat – Using small handheld appliances such as a hairdryer, electric heating pad or portable space heater, apply gentle heat to the frozen pipes. You can also wrap pipes with towels soaked in warm water.
- Call a plumber – If you are unable to identify the frozen area, it is best to call a professional. A licensed plumber will be able to find the frozen area, fix any bursts, and thaw the pipes.