Depending on where you live in the country, frozen pipes may catch you
by surprise. In the west and south, bone-chilling freezing temperatures are
fairly uncommon. A home owner may be caught unaware during a harsh cold spell
and could end up with broken and burst pipes.
pipes into jeopardy because water increases in volume as it freezes. The water
itself "stretches out" the pipes and when the pipes and water thaws,
the joints in the pipes may have holes or could just burst entirely. The
now-thawed water may rush through your kitchen or bathroom damaging the flooring
Such a tragedy can be avoided with a simple prevention plan.
Insulate your pipes
Keep your pipes warmer by insulating them. Pipes exposed in attics and under
the house are more likely to freeze in chilly weather. Simple pipe insulation
is readily available at any home improvement store for affordable prices. Wrap
your pipes well to help protect them from the winter cold.
Let your faucets "leak"
On a very cold night, turn your kitchen and bathroom faucets on and allow the
water to trickle. Running water does not freeze as quickly as still water.
Compare a standing lake and a water fall for example. Lakes ice over quickly
whereas it takes severe cold to freeze a water fall. Let your water move
through the pipes to keep it from freezing.
Keep your house warm
If you shut off portions of your house in the winter to manage your valuable
heat or if you turn off your heat entirely when you leave for vacation, use a
different strategy on very cold nights. All parts of your house should be kept
to about 55 degrees if possible.
Drain your lines
To solve the problem entirely, let your plumbing lines drain. If your pipes
have no water in them to start with, there is no water to freeze and bust your
pipes. Shut the water off at the main line and drain the water out of the
lines. Run the faucet in a bathtub until there is no water left and then find a
faucet outside on the lowest point on your property (if relevant) and drain the
remaining water out of the pipes there.
With these precautions, you should not need a plumber for frozen pipes.
Prevention is definitely the best medicine in this case.