Dealing with Frozen Pipes

Winter is coming. Sure, here in Albuquerque we don’t have it as bad as others. We don’t have to deal with blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and feet of snow, but it does get cold. It can get really cold! It is definitely going to drop below freezing at some point, and whenever that happens we have to start thinking about frozen pipes.

What is the Danger?

Water is unlike any other substance in the world. When water freezes it expands. Normally this isn’t an issue. In fact, if it wasn’t for plumbing, we probably never care about expanding water at all! But, because of plumbing, frozen water can become a major issue. When water freezes and expands in your pipes it could cause a burst. The odds are, you won’t even notice this burst until much later, when the water unfreezes and massive flood begins. Yup, frozen pipes can definitely cause problems.

Frozen Pipe Prevention

Obviously, pipes only freeze when exposed to very low temperatures. The best way to keep them from freezing, is to keep the temperature up! This isn’t too difficult for the pipes inside your home. Cranking up the thermostat should get the job done. Pipes outside your home are going to need a little more attention. If pipes are infrequently used, you can simply drain them and turn off their water source. Otherwise, consider installing insulating ‘pipe sleeves’ which should keep things from becoming frosty.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

If a pipe has frozen but hasn’t but burst, you need to take action quickly! Leave a faucet connected to the pipe open while you are doing your work. When water starts flowing you will immediately know. Apply direct heat to the pipe. You can use a hairdryer, a heating pad, a space heater, or a warm, wet towel. Do not use anything with an open flame as that could create a hazardous situation.

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