How to Prevent and Thaw Frozen Pipes

February 08, 2019

As the temperature outside decreases, the risk of your pipes bursting or freezing increases. When water freezes, it expands. Water damage from burst pipes is one of the most common claims for those with homeowners insurance.

Pipes in unheated interior spaces such as attics, garages, and basements are the most at risk. The easiest preventative measure you can take is to use pipe insulation on all interior piping. When the temperature drops below 20° F, you should start taking action by following these few tips:

  • Let cold water drip from the faucet, only at a trickle though.
  • Set your thermostat to the same temperature at night as during the day.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed, including the garage.
  • Open kitchen cabinets to let warmer air to circulate.

If your pipes are frozen you may only have a tiny trickle of water come out of the faucet when you turn it on. If you suspect a pipe is broken, you should turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. Follow these steps if you think your pipes are frozen:

  • Turn the faucet on. The small amount of running water will help thaw the frozen section and melt any ice stopping the flow.
  • Heat a section of the piping using a hair dryer, heating pad, or small space heater. Do not use any heating methods that use an open flame; kerosene heater, stoves, blowtorches, etc.
  • Keep applying heat until the water pressure is restored.
  • Call a licensed plumber if you cannot access the area or if you are uncomfortable doing this task.