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Cold Weather Action Plan: Pipes

Steps to help protect your pipes during extreme cold

Posted by: Ashley, on Saturday 3rd December 2016



One of the interesting properties of water is that it expands when frozen. It is because of this that it is important to take precautions with the pipes in your home as the temperature continues to drop. Not only can freezing threaten your access to water, but it can also damage the pipes themselves. In a situation of immediate extreme cold, here are a few additional steps you can take to save your pipes and your pocket book:


- Maintain a steady temperature throughout the house during extreme cold. It is recommended that you keep the thermostat around 60°F and keep room temperatures above 50°F to help prevent freezing.

- Space heaters may also help in unheated or drafty areas of the house like crawl spaces.

- Open cabinets and doors, especially where pipes are found, to help warm air circulate around the pipes. Similarly, ensure that the garage door is closed to help keep out the cold.

- Allow water to drip from tap to keep water moving and prevent freezing, especially if it's the temperature is going to drop below freezing. For this, make sure your drains are clear. Water can also be run every half hour for a few seconds for the same results.

- Do not use antifreeze. This is environmentally hazardous and dangerous to humans, animals and plants.


If you can see that there is frost on the pipes or find that there is only a trickle or no running water, take action quickly. Depending on your level of comfort and expertise, you can attempt to thaw the pipe yourself. However, do not use tools like a flame torch. Direct fire can be dangerous and damaging due to the risk of flammable insulation materials. It can also simply melt the pipes themselves depending on the material. Hot air, such as that from a high powered hair dryer, or heating lamps are considered a better option.




Of course, most licensed plumbers, like Olympic Plumbing Technology, will have the tools needed to thaw pipes and address any potential damages that may have occurred. Our team is only a phone call away, both ready and able to assist with this or any of your plumbing needs!




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