Winterization Tips

Frozen pipes are a common occurrence during sub-zero weather. Insulation is an obvious benefit, but won't by itself prevent pipes from freezing if they are too exposed to the elements.

It is recommended that homeowners keep a heat source close by. In the case of bathroom pipes enclosed in vanities or cabinets, leave the doors open in frigid weather so the heat from the room can penetrate the enclosures.

Professional contractors sell pipe wrappings imbedded with electrical coils to provide an outside source of heat. This works fine, but if you forget to plug in the device with the approach of a cold front, or if there's an electrical power interruption - as often occurs during severe weather - the product won't work.

If the pipe does freeze, it is recommended that you try defrosting it with an electrical hair dryer. For safety, be sure the dryer is grounded and never hold the pipe while operating an electrical appliance.

To prevent the pipe from bursting, turn off the water supply to that line. Be careful, however, if you use a boiler for heating, it must have continual water supply to operate.

It is suggested that you don't turn off the main household supply, just the valve leading to the frozen line. If you're unsure how to do this, you should call a plumbing contractor.

Also remember that running water does not freeze very readily. During severe cold weather, you may want to keep a stream of water trickling out of faucets or spouts attached to vulnerable pipes. This wastes water, but it may be preferable to a burst pipe.


Disclaimer: The Plum Creek Municipal Authority will not be responsible for adverse results resulting from the implementation of suggestions included in this fact sheet.

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