Another year and another Colorado winter is upon us, which means that some homeowners need to start thinking about their plumbing. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes the temperatures drop so much that the water in your plumbing can freeze, and that can mean a lot of bad things. Some or all of the sinks in your home may no longer provide access, or your shower might not work.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes this Winter
Fortunately, depending on the way your home is constructed, there are things you can do both before and after a pipe freeze to solve these problems. Just follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to flowing water in your home again!
- Shut Doors & Windows in Your Attic or Garage - Because garages and attics usually don’t have people using these spaces all the time, they can have little to no insulation in them. However, that means that if they are attached to the home, they can be points of vulnerability where cold can enter. Make sure any doors or windows are shut in these areas. Otherwise, your attic space might just be the place that freezes out your upstairs bathroom faucets and taps.
- Locate External Plumbing - If you have any water pipes that are running outside your home, or you’re not sure whether you have this situation at all, get confirmation and do an inspection. If a water pipe is going to be blocked anywhere, external pipes are the first, most likely culprit, so once you know where these pipes are, you’re halfway to solving a problem before it begins.
- Run Your Hot Water - The hot water in your pipe doesn’t stay hot all the time. This means that if you don’t use it for long periods, like overnight, it can cool down. If the outside temperature is low enough the water will freeze. But periodically running the tap for your hot water pipes will heat things up and keep the water moving. This is probably not going to be an issue for your kitchen tap, or your bathroom where showers and baths regularly use hot water, but other faucets in your home may benefit from being turned on a few times per day during the coldest days of the season.
- Use Heating Tape - It’s called heating tape, but it is an electrically powered cord that puts out heat all along its length. You can get heating tape at various lengths depending on your needs. As long as you can reach the part of the pipe that’s most risk, and still have access to electrical power, you can wrap this around your pipe, plug it in, and never worry again.
But what happens if you’ve passed the point of no return and your pipe is already frozen? Here’s what you do.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
You’ll need an indirect source of heat, such as a space heater, heat lamp, or a hair dryer. Apply it as close as possible to the frozen area, but do not make contact with the metal. In a few minutes, the metal itself should be warm enough that it can start melting the frozen water. Once the water has melted even a little bit, turning on a faucet should cause enough movement in the pipe to clear the rest of the blockage.
Craig Plumbing Heating & Cooling LLC is here for you. Just call us at (720) 619-3380 for 24/7 response in Broomfield and we’ll get your water up and running again in no time. You can also contact us online!