There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring.
- Leave the faucet dripping during the coldest times. The steadily moving water will keep the pipes slightly above the freezing point and prevent them from freezing. No one wants to waste water, but it is better than dealing with burst pipes. A burst pipe can easily spill several hundred gallons of water per hour.
- Open cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet. This is often sufficient to prevent kitchen pipes from freezing on the coldest nights.
- Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape and plug it in when the weather is especially cold.
- Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. But remember that insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
- Install a permanent heater to keep areas with pipes above the freezing point. For example, an unheated basement or garage can be fitted with a permanent baseboard heater to keep temperatures above freezing. However, do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
- Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sillcocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, winterize the pipes by turning off the water to the faucet inside the house and draining the exterior section of the pipe and faucet.
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