Winter is here, and we don’t know when, or for how long, the temperature might dip below freezing. So, the best strategy is that of the Boy Scouts: “Be prepared.”
Preparedness rule number one is to make sure that your thermostat is set no lower than 55 degrees, even when you are away on vacation. That will ensure that water will flow and not freeze in the pipes.
Other precautionary steps to avoid frozen pipes are outlined on the website of the Seattle Utilities.
* Protect your water pipes in unheated areas such as your attic, basement, and garage, by wrapping them with tape or foam insulating material.
* Drain your outdoor hoses and store them.
* Shut off the valve for the outside faucets, and then turn them on to drain them.
* Caulk around the places where pipes enter.
* If you are going away on vacation, open the cabinet doors under your sinks that are on the outside walls. That way they’ll benefit from the indoor heat.
Some Expert Advice
Raman of Drain Pro Plumbing has another tip to ensure that pipes don’t freeze when the temperature dips below 32 degrees. “It’s important to keep water flowing through your pipes, so you might want to let water trickle through your faucets overnight,” he says. He also stresses that you should know where the main water shut-off valve is for your home. “If you have a pipe burst–sink or toilet–you can minimize damage by shutting off the water.”
What’s the sign that one of your pipes is frozen? You might turn on the tap and have just a trickle of water come out. Keep the spigot open, as you try to find the frozen pipe. Test your other faucets, because there may be more than one frozen pipe. Seattle Public Utilities has a guide for what to do, and what not to do, to defrost a frozen pipe.
If you can’t find the frozen pipe, or if you are not able to deal with it, call a licensed plumber. Drain Pro Plumbing is ready to help.