One of the many winter woes for people staying in places with really low temperatures is the problem of frozen pipes. Being a seemingly mild plumbing problem, they can cause a great damage to the house. During winter, the water in a pipe freezes and when this happens, it expands. This phenomenon causes even the pipes to expand and sometimes to such an extent that they burst. A single burst can put the whole house in jeopardy, resulting in a serious demolition. Also, the problem of frozen pipes happens to be a common scenario during the winter months. It is not uncommon to hear or come across insurance companies dealing with such problems.
How to Keep Pipes from Freezing
To prevent outdoor pipes from getting frozen, use a thermal blanket. You will need this for every water supply line that you have around the house. Cut the blanket in half, so that it is twice the length of the pipe. Before wrapping the pipes with the blankets, it is advisable to first soak them in hot water. Ensure that you wrap the pipes in two thick layers in a snug fit. You can use duct tape or may be string to secure the blanket in place.
A desk lamp with an adjustable head is good enough to perform this method. Place the lamp in such a way that it stands about 1 inch apart from the pipe. But before you plug-in the appliance, make an inspection for any water leaks. Alternatively, using an electric space heater on a low heat setting also works fine.
Another simple method is to leave the water dripping in a sink, overnight, or during the day. Running water, even at a slow rate, prevents the pipes from freezing. This is because the temperature of the running water is above its freezing point. However, don't just let the water go to waste. Collect it in a container so that you can use it for later.
To prevent pipes in the garage from freezing, keep the doors closed. Also, leave the doors of the kitchen sink cabinet open. This will allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing and reduce the chances of freezing. Adding insulation to places such as an attic, basement, etc., helps in maintaining higher temperatures; thus, keeping the pipes from freezing. If it is possible, then relocating exposed pipes is also a good idea.
In case it is too late to prevent this problem from occurring, then be ready to thaw the pipes, especially on an extremely cold morning. Boil a bottle of water and gently pour it on the frozen pipe. Turn on the faucet and if you notice a trickle, then give it some more time to thaw. Apart from this, you can also use an electric hair dryer or a space heater (portable). Do not use a direct flame, as it will risk the safety of the house.