When Pipes Freeze Over | Winter Plumbing Tips
Anyone who lives in areas where temperatures drop below freezing is familiar with frozen pipes and other winter plumbing problems. On the coldest and windiest days, we struggle to answer the influx of calls about frozen pipes, flooded basements, and malfunctioning heating and plumbing systems. It can get pretty bad.
“You’re going to be paying for the same thing right over again if they don’t solve that problem.”
– Mike Agugliaro, nj.com
Get rid of the risk of frozen pipes altogether with these winter plumbing tips.
Schedule Plumbing Maintenance
We recommend signing up for a home maintenance plan to make sure you are receiving annual electrical, HVAC, and plumbing inspections, all for one low fee. Professional maintenance every year is by far the best prevention method.
Clogged pipes, drains, and vents could freeze and cause water backups in the home. After any significant snowfall, make sure your HVAC vents and water drainage systems are not clogged or restricted in any way. If you have a sump pump, make sure the discharge line is free and clear.
If furnace vents become clogged, carbon monoxide can leak into the home. Make sure you test your CO and smoke detectors every 30 days.
Sump Pump Check-Up
Inspect and test your sump pump every 3 months by pouring a 5-gallon bucket of water into the basin to see if the water drains properly. Walk outside to the discharge location to make sure the water is being released to the right area. Learn more tips on how to avoid basement flooding.
Make sure your garage door is closed and insulated, especially if the water heater, washer/dryer, or HVAC equipment is in there. That means fixing the weatherstripping around your garage door.
A cold garage can mean frozen and burst pipe. Protect your cars and other expensive equipment from damage by increasing insulation and installing heating equipment for your garage.
Learn how to insulate your garage door from The Family Handyman.
Contact Gold Medal Service to discuss your garage heating options.
Drain the Water to Outdoor Faucets
Drain the water to outdoor faucets by disconnecting the water supply at the water shut-off valve. This is normally near the outdoor pipe. Learn how to locate and turn off water shut-off valves here.
Next, remove all hoses and open the faucets to remove the remaining water. Consider covering your outdoor faucets with insulation jackets, especially if your area experiences prolonged periods of freezing temperatures. This will help prevent outdoor faucets and connecting lines from freezing.
Circulate & Seal
During freezing temperatures, you can prevent frozen pipes by having your thermostat set above 55° and leaving a trickle of hot and cold water. It's much harder to freeze moving water than still water. Turn the thermostat up and open cabinet doors that contain pipes (under your sinks). This helps circulate warm air around your plumbing. Insulate your exposed pipes with sleeve jackets and seal any air leaks around your home.
Here's a recap of what you can do to prevent frozen pipes this winter:
- Seal Air Leaks
- Insulate Pipes
- Leave Trickles of Warm Water
- Drain and Disconnect Outdoor Faucets and Hoses
- Keep the House Above 55 Degrees
- Close and Seal Windows and Doors
- Monitor Weather Conditions
- Use Common Sense and NEVER Use an Open Flame to Thaw Pipes.
Year-Round Plumbing Tips:
- Watch what goes down the drains. Don’t pour harsh substances down any drains (chemicals, grease, oil, paint, medications, etc.).
- Learn what not to flush down the toilet and what not to put down the garbage disposal.
- If you own a septic tank, learn how to maintain it here.
Call Gold Medal Service if you cannot thaw the pipes yourself. You should act quickly whenever you notice frozen pipes. The first sign is usually restricted water flow.
If you have any questions, give us a call at (732) 365-3199. We have a team of technicians and a live call center standing by 24/7 to help you with any question or problem you may have.
Give us a call today at (732) 365-3199 or schedule an appointment online!