How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing in Winter

build up of ice and icicles hugging a pipe

Just about everyone has experienced it: you turn the faucet, valve and only a tiny drop of water, or nothing at all, comes out. If the weather is frigid or has been cold for a while, your pipes are almost certainly frozen.

You can prevent the problem of having frozen water pipes in Utah by following these ideas:

  • Know the location of most of your water supply lines so you can do something about their insulation.
  • If there are supply lines in the garage, keep the garage door closed and let warm air circulate inside.
  • Open the cabinets under your kitchen sink to allow warm air to flow and prevent freezing in the pipes.
  • During icy weather, let an outdoor faucet drip a little trickle of hot water to keep the water from freezing in the pipes.
  • For such weather, keep the temperature in your home the same all day and all night, instead of switching to a low temperature at night. It’s more expensive to fix a broken plumbing system due to freezing.
  • Don’t leave your home without at least 55°F heat.
  • Wherever possible, apply insulation around water supply lines. You may also consider moving pipes that are too exposed. Ask a professional plumber to do it for you.

If you do have the problem already, here’s how you can thaw your pipes.

  • Open a faucet.
  • Apply heat to the frozen area, but never use an open flame. Use a hair dryer or an electric heating pad. If you have none of the two, soak a few towels in hot water and wrap the towels around the pipe.
  • Keep applying heat to the area until the water pressure returns to normal.
  • To make sure all the pipes are ice-free, try all the faucets in your home.
  • If you’re not confident doing this on your own, or if your efforts don’t succeed, don’t try any unorthodox DIY solutions. Call a professional and have them deal with your frozen pipes. It’s a lot more reasonable than paying thousands to fix something you broke while trying to unfreeze the pipes.
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Water expands as it freezes, so whatever material your pipes have are wont to break eventually in frigid weather. Talk to a plumber to find better and lasting solutions to your frozen pipe problems.