DENVER (CBS4) – Frozen pipes cause a huge amount of damage each year, but unlike natural disasters, this disaster is largely preventable.
If you think you’re freezing, think about your pipes.
Granted they are inanimate objects but they don’t have the luxury of escaping the elements.
In cold climates, pipes freeze for a combination of three reasons: a quick drop in temps, poor insulation, and a thermostat set too low.
Both plastic and copper pipes can burst when they freeze, and recovering from frozen pipes is not as simple as calling a plumber. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew out 250 gallons of water a day, causing serious structural damage and the immediate potential for mold.
Your best bet-don’t let it happen. Before the cold hits insulate pipes in crawl spaces and attic. Definitely insulate exposed pipes. They are the most susceptible to freezing. The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be. Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes.
Even if you’ve taken preventative steps, extremely cold weather can still harm your pipes.
A few more things you can do are as follows:
– Allow a trickle of hot and cold water to run overnight. It might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
– Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night.
– Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
– If you’re traveling, before you leave set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55 degrees and ask a friend to check your house daily.
If your pipes still freeze, don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve burst. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because you could cause a fire and water damage is preferable to burning down your house.