View Full Version : Avoid Frozen Water Pipes

12-21-2004, 10:00 AM
As everybody knows, winter is now here. When the weather starts freezing, unexpected problems arise. When these problems arise, then I stay busy at work. Here are some tips to keep your water lines from freezing....and bursting.

1. Insulate pipes. Don't wait until a pipe freezes and breaks. Save time and money by insulating, or checking insulation, right away.

2. Inspect your water meter. Report a lid that is broken, cracked or has a loose fit. A frozen lid should be left alone.

3. Make sure utilities are in good working order. Properly functioning gas, electric and water heaters can warm pipes which will keep water running freely.

4. Leave a faucet dripping. Circulating water won't freeze in the meter or pipes.

5. Open cabinet doors below sinks located against an outside wall. Pipes are less likely to freeze if they're exposed to warm air.

6. Winterize outdoor lines. Drain water lines to outdoor faucets and disconnect garden hoses from faucets to avoid freeze-ups.

7. Locate the water shut-off valve. Before a pipe breaks is the time to locate the shut-off valve and learn how to turn it off.

8. Educate your family. Make sure all family members, including children, know who to call and how to locate the water shut-off valve in case of an emergency.

9. Prepare ahead for holiday travel. Ask a friend to check your business or home while you're away. Leave contingency plans in case of problems.

12-21-2004, 11:32 AM
Some people will call the fire department to shut off their water. Although they will do it, and not say anything (I presume), it is NOT their job.

While the citizen is either too lazy or too uneducated to find the shut off valve, a house could be burning that the same fire engine or rescue company could be fighting.

Think before calling. Can you do it yourself. If so, do it.

Of course, there are exceptions such as the very elderly.

By the way, Keith. What does the Utilities department recommend for interior wet walls? Same procedure of opening the cabinet doors and trickeling water, or is it allright to d nothing?

12-21-2004, 12:43 PM
I'm not sure what an interior wet wall is. I checked with a water supervisor at work and he had never heard of it either. Anyway, what I do is cover all my outside vents on the house and all the crawl spaces. At night, depending on how cold it gets, I will leave my kitchen cabinet door open (under the sink), and the cabinet door under my bathroom sink.

I also let the water slightly stream out of my bathtub faucet, sink faucet, and the faucet in my kitchen. They say you should just let the water drip, however, just a drip can still cause your pipes to freeze. If you barely let the water stream out of your faucets, the pressure of the water coming out of the faucets will keep the line from freezing. If you don't know where your private cut off valve is, or maybe you don't have a private valve, learn how to turn your water off at the water meter.

If pipes do freeze, place a space heater on the outside of your kitchen cabinet by the frozen pipes. Do not put the space heater inside cabinet. Anytime the space heater is on, somebody needs to be there. You can also get a hair blow dryer, and run the blow dryer up and down on the frozen pipes to thaw them out. Make sure your blow dryer is on :wink:

NEVER, EVER use an open flame, such as a candle to thaw pipes.

When thawing out your pipes, turn your faucet on slightly. Soon, you will hear the sound of air, or you will hear the ice melting. Remember, since the pipes are frozen, and you are putting heat on them, the pipe itself is expanding, which can result in your pipes bursting. If none of these work, then you will probably have to have a plumber come out with a pipe dethawer.

In another thread I will tell you my experience with frozen pipes that burst.

12-21-2004, 12:54 PM
Any "wet wall" is where your water lines run. Interior wet walls would then be the walls inside the structure that do not face the outside.

12-22-2004, 02:27 PM

Thanks for the heads up on this one...ya know not everyone knows how to prevent this kind of stuff and deal with it if and when it does happen. Now, if I only knew how to change the oil in my car. Oh wait....that's what Jiffy Lube's are for...LOL