Another winter is here! And the cold temperatures bring lots of opportunities for disaster to strike and put you in expense. Each year we hear stories of frozen and burst pipes, icy gutters, and other snow-related incidents that could quickly escalate and cause property damage. We want you to be able to enjoy your holidays and not have to deal with any of these accidents/emergencies so we’ve compiled these life-saving safety tips to help you get through this winter emergency-free.
Keeping Your Pipes from Freezing
Research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois shows that the “temperature alert threshold” is 20° F, especially if you have uninsulated pipes running through an uninsulated space. Follow these guidelines to prevent frozen and burst pipes in your home this season:
- Keep your thermostat set to one temperature – day and night.
- Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in there.
- Leave your faucets slightly open so cold water can drip. If you have a faucet served by exposed pipes then running water through them can help prevent them from freezing.
- Let warm air circulate around your plumbing by opening kitchen doors and cupboards. You can also apply heating-tape to pipes to keep them warm during cold spells.
- If you’re going to be away from home, make sure to leave the heat on and set to no less than 55° F.
The Best Way to Thaw Frozen Pipes
When you’re dealing with subzero temperatures, sometimes even with all the precautions your pipes can freeze. Frozen and burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during winter and can result in more than $5,000 worth of damage. In those instances, here’s how you can safely unfreeze them without bursting them.
- First and foremost, you must find the frozen pipe. If you turn on a pipe and no water comes out, or the pressure is extraordinarily low, track the pipes leading up to that faucet to find where the frozen pipe is. If the pipes are exposed, the frozen section will be identifiable by frost or a slight bulge.
- Turning on a faucet will help heat the frozen pipe and melt any ice plugs.
- Heat the pipe. If the pipe is exposed, use an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater, or wrap a heated towel around the frozen section of pipe or wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe. If the pipe is enclosed, you can either turn up the heat at the property or use an infrared lamp to thaw the blockage (if you know where the frozen pipe might be) or if extreme measures are required, you can cut out a section of the (dry)wall to make accessing the pipe easier.
While flooding from frozen and burst pipes constitutes one of the most common causes of water damage during winter, there are other situations that could affect you this season.
Make sure to check these tasks off your list this winter to avoid any potential damage:
- Trim your trees
- Clear your rain gutters of any debris or blockages and test your sump pump.
- Clean your dryer vents.
- Check your electrical systems, especially those outdoor.
- Bleed your radiators to ensure they run at full capacity and efficiency.
- Check your roof for ice dams and remove any.
- Seal leaky doors and windows.
- Clear your walkways of snow.
- Wear proper footwear and pay attention to where you walk, it’s easy to slip on ice and hurt yourself.
- Weatherproof external pipes with insulating tape and turn them off at the main.
- Prepare for winter storms that bring freezing rain, sleet, and blizzards.
- Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Inspect your insulation and if necessary add some insulation to your attic, walls, and crawlspace to can save money on heating costs.
Sometimes, even with all the best preparations, accidents happen. Consider us your resource for any emergency needs this season. Whether frozen and burst pipes have flooded your home, or a small kitchen fire left your entire kitchen covered in soot, we’re here to help. If you need emergency relief for a disaster, call Rock Emergency… we’re in this together!
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