How Can You Stop Your Pipes From Freezing?

Remember These Tips from Burt’s Plumbing Professionals

burst pipes new yorkBurt’s Reliable has served the North Fork of Long Island for decades. One issue that comes up every winter is pipe-freezing. As the weather turns frigid, it is important to be aware of ice buildup in your plumbing.

Luckily, our plumbing experts have a few tips to help prevent and address freezing pipes.

Shutting Off and Draining Outdoor Water Systems

When preparing your home for winter, you should shut down water lines for hoses, irrigation systems, or in-ground sprinklers. These pipes are the most vulnerable to freezing during cold snaps.

Locate your outdoor watering systems’ valves and turn them to the closed position. Then, drain any water left in the system. With no water left in the lines, you can be confident that ice will not collect.

Several cost-effective items can reduce your risk of freezing pipes, including frost-free spigots and outdoor valve covers. These products are available at most home improvement retailers.

Insulating Exposed Pipes from the Elements

As a general rule, if a pipe is outside the walls of your home, it has a higher risk of freezing over the winter. For example, crawl spaces, basements, garages, and outdoor faucets all have exposed pipes.
It is best to insulate these pipes with foam to prevent freezing. You should also seal any gaps for pipes leading out of the house. These are especially prevalent in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

You might want to consider running a warm water trickle from faucets overnight during very frigid periods. You can also open below-sink cabinets with uninsulated pipes, exposing them to the room’s heat.

Preparing for Extended Periods Away

It can be tempting to shut down your heating system while you’re away from home. This might save a few dollars on your heating bill, but be careful – you could end up incurring much higher costs from a burst pipe.

Always keep your thermostat set to no lower than 60°F while you are away. This minimum setting will minimize the risks of pipe freezing while still lowering your heating costs. Consider leaving a key with a trusted neighbor to check in during freezing weather when leaving for an extended period. They can adjust the thermostat as needed and alert you quickly if a pipe bursts.

If you want true peace of mind before leaving for long periods, Burt’s Reliable professionals can help. We have extensive experience winterizing vacation homes.

Safely Thawing a Frozen Pipe

If you find that one of your lines has frozen during a cold snap, you need to be safe while thawing it yourself.

Firstly, you should never apply an open flame to a pipe. The best option for melting ice in a pipe is a hairdryer. Before you begin, turn on the faucet. Then, apply the dryer’s heat at the nearest point to the tap and work your way back to the most frozen section.

If there is standing water near the pipe, do not use a hairdryer or any other electrical device. If a hairdryer does not clear the pipe of ice, you should ask the plumbing pros at Burt’s reliable for help.

Dealing with a Burst Pipe

In the worst-case scenario, a freezing pipe will rupture. In this instance, you should close the main shutoff valve for your home and immediately contact a professional to repair the burst pipe.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. By shutting down external lines, insulating pipes, and maintaining a proper home temperature, you can largely avoid the possibility of a frozen pipe.

If you own a home on the North Fork or East End of Long Island, contact Burt’s Reliable to winterize your plumbing. We are always happy to assist.