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February 1, 2016
by Shayla Concannon

5 Tricks to Keep Your Pipes from Exploding this Winter

Frozen pipes can really do damage to your home.  These easy 5 tips are effective when old man winter blows in.  Being prepared for the freezing temperatures can save you time, stress, and money.

Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing, even if you think they may already have started to freeze.

1.16 h

Source: House Logic- Jamie Wiebe

It’s best to winterize your pipes before the snow sets in. But don’t fret if you forgot there are still ways to help keep pipes from bursting, like running your faucets and opening cabinet doors. 

New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, its just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlords job.

Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if youve forgotten and all of a sudden youre in the middle of a deep freeze, theres still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting:

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. Theres no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

Open Cabinet Doors

During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the homes warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this wont 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.

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.

Pull Out Your Hairdryer

A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags arent doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You dont 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. Youre trying to melt the ice not your pipes.

Frozen Pipes? Shut Off The Water

Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, nows 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.

Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

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