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Tips to Fight Frozen Pipes

During the months of cold weather in Michigan, it is not unlikely that temperatures drop below freezing. When this happens, the chance that your pipes will freeze is much more likely. As the temperatures drop, close all of your air vents and any other openings you may have in the crawl space under your home. It is important to monitor the temperature and open one or two vents in warmer weather for ventilation. When it is below freezing outside, you should never have your home’s thermostat set below 55 degrees. Insulating your pipes is also a good idea, especially pipes that are prone to freezing. These could be pipes near an outside wall, in unheated areas of your home, or pipes that are exposed, such as outside spigots. If you do not have the proper tools, you could use newspaper or rags for temporary coverage. You can also go any store like Lowes or Home Depot, or any hardware store, to pick up pipe insulation.

If the temperature is expected to fall below 20 degrees, leave water dripping slowly from the faucets. This will keep the water in circulation and keep it from freezing in the pipes if they are not insulated. You should always keep the cover of your water meter box in place securely to prevent it from freezing during colder periods that are below freezing.  Also, in extremely cold temperatures, you should leave cabinet doors under sinks open to keep the warm air circulating. This will help fight against the pipes freezing due to cold air around the pipes.  It is always a good idea to know where your home’s master valve is located in case of a line breaking.  Usually the master valve is located where the water line from the meter enters the house. This is usually located in the crawl space, near the water heater, or by the washer and dryer systems.

In the case that your pipes do become frozen, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest setting, a heat lamp, or a light bulb to gradually warm the frozen pipe. Always be careful while doing this, and make sure to distribute the heat to all parts of the pipe. Too much heat in one spot can cause the pipe to burst, which can cause water damage to your property. Always be extremely careful when using any electrical appliance to thaw a pipe. If the appliance you are using becomes wet, make sure to be careful because you can run the risk of electrocution.

You should never any type of a flame, such as a blow torch to try and thaw a pipe, because this could cause a fire. In addition to the danger of flame, extreme heat could thaw the pipe too quickly, causing it to burst and could result in a serious injury. If you cannot find out where the frozen part of the pipe is located and no water is coming out of any tap, there is a chance that your service line or your meter is frozen. In that case, call your local utilities company to get it fixed. If it is not your meter that is frozen, it is more than likely that the service line to your home is. In the case of a frozen service line, you may need the help of a professional plumber or plumbing company.

Tips to Fight Frozen Pipes