blur-branch-close-up-436792Wondering when the cold will end? Me, too! In the meantime, water, especially frozen water in pipes can be detrimental to your home and cause serious damage in the winter. Here are some tips to keep your home safe.

Preventing Frozen Pipes is Key

  • Remove exterior hoses and shut off interior valves feeding those hoses. (When purchasing my home last year, during my own home inspection, we found a burst pipe under that house that could have been easily prevented by shutting off the exterior valve. The damage was in the $1,000’s.)

  • For many reasons, keep garage doors closed. This will keep your home warmer and also help protect water lines in your garage.

  • Check for open or drafty windows. Fill in gaps with weather stripping, close blinds and window treatments to create an extra barrier, and consider installing waffle shades which trap air and provide great installation.

  • If your home has cold spots especially in the kitchen or bathroom(s) open cabinet doors to allow warm air to surround plumbing and warm up the pipes.

  • When temperatures are below freezing, let cold water drip from the faucet. Running water through pipes helps prevent them from freezing.

  • Going out of town? Leave the heat on in your home. Set your thermostat to at least 60° F.

  • Pipes that are especially exposed to cold air may benefit from specialty products including pipes sleeves.

Steps to Thawing Frozen Pipes

Turn on your faucet and find only a trickle? It may be a frozen pipe. If one pipe is frozen, there is a chance others have frozen. Make sure to check all pipes.

  1. Turn on both the hot and cold handles. This will help to relieve pressure in the system and will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe.

  2. Apply heat near the facet and work your way further back toward the pipe. Options for heat include: hair dryer, heat lamp or space heater, and hot towels wrapped around the pipe. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.

  3. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, perhaps it isn’t exposed, warm up the environment using spaces heaters and central heat. If the pipe is still frozen or you aren’t able to locate the frozen pipe, call a licensed plumber.

Managing a Burst Pipe

If a frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. You should know where the shut-off valves are for each of your properties and for each unit. There are usually smaller shut-off valves located near sinks and toilets, but the main shut-off valve is often located near the water meter. Then call a plumber. 

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Elizabeth Ruhl

Elizabeth Ruhl

Elizabeth brings more than 15 years in corporate America and nearly ten years in real estate to her role at Glass House. She is a renowned and respected industry authority in real estate marketing. She is hard working, persistent, enthusiastic and service oriented with a focus on helping successfully guide her clients to achieve and exceed their real estate goals.