Tips to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Don’t let freezing temperatures cost you in expensive plumbing repairs. Preventing pipes from freezing and potentially bursting is reasonably inexpensive as long as you take a proactive approach. Once the temperature drops below 20°F, be prepared. Let’s walk through some helpful tips:

  1. Do a walk through to know exactly where your water pipes are located whether that’s in your main living space, garage, attic or basement.
  2. Keep cabinets open in your kitchen and bathroom to help with better heat circulation, but keep garage doors closed.
  3. Allow cold water to drip through your faucets, especially through pipes near exterior walls. Water coming in has to be higher than 32°F which helps keep pipes from freezing.
  4. Energy bills can seem daunting in the winter but keep your home temperature consistent. Saving a little money on your electric bill could cost you in a frozen disaster.
  5. If you plan on traveling, don’t lower your thermostat below 55°F.
  6. Remember to insulate attics, basements and crawl spaces to maintain higher temperatures in those areas. Insulate around pipes for both hot and cold water lines.

If you do turn on a faucet and no water is flowing, don’t panic! There are ways to thaw frozen pipes:

  1. Turn on the faucet with cold water while you work to thaw the pipe. The flowing water will help the ice melt.
  2. Locate the section of pipe that is frozen and apply heat to it with an electric heating pad, blow dryer, electric space heater, or wrap the pipe in towels soaked in hot water. DO NOT use blowtorches, kerosene or propane heaters, or any device with an open flame. High heat can cause damage.
  3. Keep applying heat until full water pressure is restored.
  4. If you can’t locate or thaw the frozen pipe(s), then it’s time to call a licensed plumber.

If a pipe has burst in your home and you need additional water shut off at the meter apart from your main water valve, you can call the Utilities Department at 636-477-6600, ext. 1573. This line is available 24/7 for emergency situations.