5 Tricks to Keep Your Pipes from Exploding This Winter

Even if you think they’ve already started to freeze!

#1 Turn On Your Faucets

If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

#2 Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

#3 Wrap Your Pipes

If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

#4 Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)

Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.

© Copyright 2020 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Image: Skowronek/Shutterstock

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My Mission Statement: To offer a superior level of professionalism, always adhering to the code of ethics and personal integrity, never losing site of the importance of family and the example that is set each day through actions. Real Estate: Real Estate is full time and very rewarding career. I joined the Centralia RE/MAX Office in 2004 and take pride in the professional atmosphere within the RE/MAX Key Land office. In 2007 I extended my education and obtained my GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute Designation) and ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative Designation). I served on the Lewis County Association of REALTOR'S Board as Treasurer 2008 and 2009.