How to Keep Pipes from Freezing & Fix Burst Pipes
When temperatures drop below freezing for extended periods here in Westchester, it’s time to think about protecting pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes will burst if not addressed quickly, and that can cause extensive water damage. Especially if it happens when you’re not home.
Keep reading to find out how to keep pipes from freezing. If it’s already happened to you (or worse, you have burst pipes), skip to the next section to find out what to do to minimize damage to your home.
5 tips to keep pipes from freezing:
1. Get a plumbing inspection
This is one of the easiest (and least expensive) things you can do to prevent pipe freezing. Homeowners are used to having HVAC systems inspected, but don’t tend to think about plumbing.
When you get a Whole Home Plumbing Check from Bruni & Campisi, we inspect your pipes, drains, water heater, sinks, showers and toilets to make sure everything is in good condition and working properly. A plumbing expert can identify pipes that are in danger of freezing and recommend preventative actions.
2. Insulate pipes
Preventing frozen pipes is a matter of keeping cold air away from them. Adding pipe insulation can help. It’s especially important to insulate pipes in unheated attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls if possible.
Pipe insulation comes in various materials including foam, fiberglass and rubber. When you get a Whole Hour Plumbing Check, your plumber can advise you about which is the best type of insulation for your home and give you an estimate for installing pipe insulation.
While you’re at it, consider adding insulation to exterior walls, especially inside sink cabinets, and attics if needed.
2. Open sink cabinet doors
In very cold weather, and especially if your exterior walls are not well insulated, the pipes under your sinks can freeze and burst. That’s because the area inside sink cabinets doesn’t get as much heat.
If you’re concerned about a burst water pipe on very cold days, open the doors to your sink cabinets to let more heat get inside.
3. Prevent drafts and heat loss in your home
To keep pipes from freezing, you need to prevent heat loss and cold drafts in your home:
- Keep garage doors closed
- Keep heating set at a consistent temperature (don’t turn down thermostats at night on the coldest days)
- Address any heating problems that leave some areas too cold
- Don’t turn down thermostats lower than 55 degrees, even when you’re away.
4. Let faucets drip
On the coldest days, consider opening taps slightly to let faucets drip. That helps prevent freezing because moving water doesn’t freeze as readily.
5. Drain outdoor water lines
Obviously, outdoor water lines are most vulnerable. Before the temperatures get below freezing, drain your sprinkler system and swimming pool water lines so they can’t freeze and burst.
What to do about frozen & burst pipes:
If you turn on a tap and only a trickle of water comes out (or nothing at all), chances are you have frozen pipes.
Don’t wait: call a plumber ASAP!
IMPORTANT: Don’t wait to call the plumber, hoping the frozen pipe will defrost on its own. A frozen pipe won’t thaw quickly enough: it takes several hours even with temperatures rising above freezing. You risk having a pipe burst in your house if you wait. Take action immediately to prevent expensive repairs and water damage.
ALSO: Don’t try to thaw water pipes yourself. A flood can happen quickly when defrosting water pipes. Plumbers have the proper equipment and techniques to thaw the pipe without causing more water damage.
While you wait for the plumber, you can do these things to minimize the damage:
Shut off the water main
Shut off the main water valve to your home. That reduces the pressure and can minimize damage and flooding.
Locate the frozen or burst pipe
Chances are, the frozen pipe is connected to the faucet where you have no water. See if you can find where it’s frozen and check for leaks and damage to the pipe if it has burst. You can at least put a bucket underneath to catch drips and prevent further damage.
Open connected faucets
Keep faucets slightly open that are connected to the frozen or burst pipe. That keeps water moving and reduces pressure in the pipe.
If you’ve chosen the right plumber, they will be there before you know it.
Choose Bruni & Campisi for your plumbing needs in Westchester
- We’ll get to you and make repairs FAST with 24/7 service.
- Know what you’re paying for with our honest, upfront pricing.
- Most repairs are made the same day.
- You can trust our expert plumbing technicians to get the job done right.
Questions? Learn more about plumbing services from Bruni & Campisi.
Bruni & Campisi provides 24/7 emergency service, installation, and maintenance for plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and generators in Westchester, Fairfield, and Putnam Counties. We also offer energy audits, sewer cleaning, and chimney cleaning. With our 40+ years of experience and training, you get the quality service you need.