What to Do if Your Pipes Are Frozen

Frozen pipes in Littleton, MA

When the outdoor temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your indoor plumbing is vulnerable to freezing.

Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes, and burst pipes can quickly create a drenched dwelling of flooded floors and soaked ceilings. The average insurance claim for water damage from a burst pipe is about $15,000, according to costhelper.com.

Here are some tips to help keep it from happening at your home in Massachusetts. Our team at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC has been serving homes in the Boston Metro area since 1987. We take great pride in keeping you comfortable and safe.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Because water expands when it freezes, a frozen pipe is vulnerable to bursting. A single burst is capable of pouring out over a dozen gallons of water in minutes.

By taking a few simple prevention steps before winter arrives, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of frozen or burst water pipes. Take the following precautions seriously:

  • Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Cut the water supply to these hoses and leave the outside valve open so any remaining water can drain. Consider using an insulator on the outdoor spigots.
  • Insulate any exposed water lines that are at risk for freezing.
    Insulate your hot water tank.
  • Always keep your garage door closed if water lines are located there.
  • Open indoor cabinets so the heat from your home to warm any pipes inside the cabinets.
  • Allow a small trickle of lukewarm water to run from the faucets to help relieve pressure, especially during the night when it gets colder.
  • If you leave for more than a few hours, always keep the temperature at 55 degrees or higher on colder days.
  • If you will be out of town for an extended period, drain the water system by turning off the water supply and running all fixtures and flushing the toilets.

Warning Signs You Have Frozen Pipes

Here are four signs your pipes are frozen:

  1. A lack of running water is the most obvious warning sign. If one pipe in your home is frozen, be sure to check the others.
  2. Frost accumulating on an indoor pipe is a likely indication of a frozen pipe.
  3. An odd-smelling odor coming from a faucet or drain could indicate the pipe is frozen and blocked, leaving the odor with no place to go.
  4. Watch out for damp patches on walls and ceilings. A frozen pipe may slightly leak for a while before it bursts wide open.

What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze

First, open the hot and cold faucets connected to the frozen pipe to relieve pressure, and provide the water with an escape route once it thaws.

Now, break out the hairdryer. Point the hot air toward the pipe, starting closest toward the faucet. A heat lamp or portable space heater will also work. Always take proper precautions whenever you have an electrical device near a water source. Frozen pipes near electrical outlets should be left to a professional plumber.

Wrapping a towel soaked in hot water around the frozen pipes is another tried-and-true method to defrost them. If the frozen pipe is in an enclosed area without easy access, turn up the room temperature. It may be all you need to do to begin the thawing process.

Keep in mind, no matter which method you attempt, you want to thaw your pipes slowly and gently. Trying to speed up the process can end in burst pipes.

If a Frozen Pipe Bursts

Immediately shut off the water supply to your home. You want to know where the main water valve is before an emergency occurs.

Turn off all electric appliances near the water flow. Use buckets if possible to catch and collect as much water as possible.

Once you have the immediate situation under control, call one of our experienced Master Plumbers to repair your pipes. Be sure to take pictures and record your damages before calling your insurance company.

Call Us for All Your Plumbing Needs

You can trust our licensed, bonded, and insured plumbers at Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC to help you with frozen pipes or any other plumbing needs at your home. Call 978-486-3767 or request service online today.

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