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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

An outdoor pipe is shown covered in ice. Did you know that damage caused from frozen pipes affects around a quarter-million American families each year?

With temperatures gradually decreasing and colder weather approaching, the threat of frozen pipes becomes more of a reality for many homeowners. If unfavorable weather conditions cause the heat to go out just when you need it most, there are a few things that you can do to prevent costly repairs from being needed.

The "Trickle Method"

If the heat goes out in your home, a simple yet highly effective way to prevent frozen pipes is the “trickle method”. Turn on the faucets in your home and allow a small amount of water to trickle through. The reason this works to prevent pipes from freezing is not because of the movement of water throughout the pipes, but because of the heat that the water picks up from underneath the frost line. It may not be incredibly warm, but the temperature underneath the ground is above freezing.


If the heat in your home is going to be out for longer than a day and the temperatures will remain below freezing, then “winterization” of your home’s plumbing system is strongly recommended. (See https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-winterize-plumbing-pipes-844862 for a step-by-step on how to winterize your home’s plumbing system.)

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system is not always necessary though, and can be problematic since it is very difficult to empty the pipes of all water without an air compressor and notice before the outage. This is why at a minimum it is recommended to allow water to trickle through the faucets as a preventative measure.

Pipe Insulation

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system and allowing water to trickle through the faucets are great as last minute preventative measures, but the simplest way to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate them! Insulating your pipes will keep them warm in frigid temperatures, preventing them from freezing and bursting. Both cold and hot water pipes should be insulated, and be sure to pay attention to pipes that are already in unheated areas of your home. Insulating your pipes will require a small investment, but it is ultimately cheaper in the long run. No one wants to deal with the emotional and financial stress that a burst pipe leak brings.

If a pipe bursts in your home, contact the experts here at SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County to help with the water mitigation process.

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