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Pipe Freezing Prevention & What to Do if a Pipe Freezes

flooded basement
Although this season has been relatively warm in and around Maryland, the winter months can be a particularly difficult time of year for your home. There are risks that come along with cold weather – especially when that cold weather dips well down below the freezing mark. One of the biggest risks that your home will face during the winter season is freezing pipes – which can then lead to water damage. A frozen pipe can suddenly create a major problem in or around your home, especially if that pipe bursts. To avoid this kind of disaster, and the expense that comes with it, review the information below.

Start on the Outside

The biggest risk to your pipes is going to come from the outside, as the inside of your home will be warmed through the winter, so make sure to look around your house for potential threats. Garden hoses and their faucets are one such threat, as ice that forms near the end of those faucets can quickly work its way back up into your pipe system. Before the cold winter weather settles in, you should disconnect your hoses and cover up all of your exterior faucets.

Don’t Let the Temperature Fall

While you can’t do anything about the temperatures outside of your home, you can certainly do something about the temperatures you experience inside the house. Maintain your house at a reasonable temperature – at least the mid-60’s – throughout the winter. This applies even if you aren’t home. One of the biggest mistakes made by homeowners in cold climates is to turn off the furnace while they are on vacation. While they are away, temperatures in the home can plummet, and pipes may freeze and burst as a result.

Wrap Vulnerable Pipes

Any pipes that pass near to exterior walls or unheated crawl spaces should be wrapped in an appropriate insulation. A simple insulating wrap around your vulnerable pipes can go a long way toward keeping those pipes thawed all through the winter months. The nice thing about this kind of preventive maintenance is the fact that you should only need to do it once. With your pipes wrapped, you can be confident in their ability to make it through many winters ahead.

Know the Warning Signs

Responding to the warning signs of pipes that are beginning to freeze is a good way to avoid a disaster. Often, the first indication that something is wrong will be a reduced flow of water from one or more of your faucets. A partially frozen pipe will only offer you a partial water flow, so this situation should immediately tell you that something is wrong.

Know How to Respond in the Worst Case Scenario

If you do have a pipe burst in your home, the first action you should take is shutting off the water at the main valve. Before this event has a chance to take place, educate yourself on the location of your water main so you can quickly shut it down in an emergency. Once the water is off, you will want to contact a plumber who can come out to assess the damage and offer repairs.