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Frozen Pipe Prevention While On the Go

Don't let this happen to you! Do you know the three main causes of frozen pipes? Unexpected drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set at too low of a temperature are the common culprits. Homeowners can use these tips to prevent frozen pipes even while away from home or traveling for the holidays.
  • Cover faucets and exposed pipes with insulation, or wrap them with thick towels.
  • Secure basement doors, windows and crawl space openings with caulk or seals.
  • Apply electrically powered heat tape (follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Keep faucets running - either a small trickle of water or a constant drip when temperatures drop below freezing for more than 24 hours. This will relieve pressure and allow water to move through.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate, keeping interior pipes warm.
  • Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets and open outside hose taps so water can drain.
  • Locate the main water shut-off valve and learn how to use it in case pipes do freeze.
  • Don't set thermostat lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit/13 Celsius degrees when travelling.
  • If you live in an old house built over an unheated crawl space, turn up the heat to increase the airflow and temperature to protect your pipes.
  • Have a neighbor check during below freezing temperatures to ensure nothing has frozen.
  • Consider a leak alarm or automatic water shutoff system.
  • As a last resort, you can turn off the main water valve while the house is unoccupied or while you sleep. If a pipe freezes and breaks, the spillage will be limited only to the water in the pipe.

These few steps are the keys to avoiding frozen pipes. While many of these tips help in most scenarios, sometimes weather changes unexpectedly. What do you do if your pipes still freeze? Don't panic. Just because they're frozen doesn't mean they've already burst or caused any permanent damage. If they do freeze here are some further tips to address the issue.

  • Turn off the water at the shut-off valve
  • Open the nearest faucet - this allows water to drain out as the ice melts
  • Don't try to defrost using an open flame; this is very dangerous and not advised!
  • Heat pipe's exterior with a hair dryer by applying heat slowly and moving constantly.
  • Call the nearest local Mr. Rooter Plumbing shop, which has electric thawing machines.
  • If pipes have burst and need immediate repair, or turning on faucets produces no water, you should call a qualified plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water: You could be electrocuted.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close.