Frozen pipes are one of the most common causes of home water damage. While many associate frozen pipes with climates far to the north, they are quite prevalent further south because many homes aren’t properly weatherized to insulate water supply lines. Extreme cold spells may be less common here in southwest Oklahoma, but when they do happen, frozen pipes can rupture and severe water damage occurs. Before the first cold spell sets in, remember these tips to prevent frozen pipes.
- Locate the main water shutoff valve for the house. If you have a frozen pipe, you’ll need to shut it off to prevent subsequent water damage. Once you know where the valve is and how to operate it, test it once a year to make sure it turns freely.
- Insulate exposed pipes. Anywhere you can see and reach cold or hot water supply lines, slip a length of foam pipe insulation over all accessible spans. Water supply lines may be routed through the crawl space, the attic or in exposed wall sections in the garage.
- Seal outdoor openings. Structural gaps or holes that admit frigid outdoor air to the crawl space or other structural spaces expose pipes to the hazard of freezing. Seal air leaks with spray foam insulation in a can for smaller, irregular-shaped openings or cover larger gaps with plywood or foam board insulation.
- Warm the house and circulate air. During a cold snap when outdoor temperatures are forecast to drop into the mid-20s, keep the home thermostat set to 65 degrees around the clock. Open closet and cabinet doors to allow the warm air to circulate into walls where pipes may be routed.
- Act immediately if you suspect that a pipe has frozen. Reduced water pressure — or none at all — is a warning sign for a frozen pipe. Don’t wait for a pipe to thaw to find out it’s broken. Turn off the main water valve and contact a plumber immediately.
Ask the professionals at Davis Air Conditioning for more advice on preventing frozen pipes this winter.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Lawton and Duncan, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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