Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jan 24, 2023

Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes

Not only can cold weather put a damper on your spirits but it can also bring about some unfortunate home challenges. Perhaps one of the most inconvenient and damaging is frozen pipes. Frozen water in pipes leads to a build-up of pressure, which can result in broken pipes and consequential flooding, and water damage.

Unfortunately, frozen and broken pipes are a common occurrence during the winter months for those who live in cold weather climates. The good news is that with a little preparation, frozen pipes are preventable and – even if your pipes do freeze – it’s simple enough to get them up and running again.

Why do your pipes freeze?
When the temperature drops below freezing, the water running within your home is at risk of freezing. The pipes most at risk for freezing are those that run through the unheated parts of your home including the basement, attic and garage. The temperature threshold to watch out for is 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why is it important to prevent frozen pipes?
Aside from being inconvenient and costly to repair, frozen pipes can also lead to flooding and subsequent water damage in your home. That’s why it’s so important to take preventative measures!

How to can you tell if your pipes are frozen?
The easiest way to tell if your pipes are frozen is by turning the faucet on. If you turn on the faucet and the water either doesn’t come out or only drips out slowly, then it’s likely the pipe is frozen. For pipes that are visible, such as under the sink, another indicator of frozen pipes is frost accumulated on the outside of the pipe.  

How can you prevent frozen pipes?
As you might imagine, the key to preventing frozen pipes is to regulate your home’s temperature to keep your pipes warm. You could also consider adding insulation and keeping your home at a warm, comfortable temperature. While it’s tempting to keep your home cool to save on heating costs, doing so puts your home at risk for what could potentially be thousands of dollars in damage should your pipes freeze and burst.

Another tactic you can use to prevent against frozen pipes is to leave your faucet dripping on especially frigid nights. Allowing water to constantly run through the pipes will prevent against freezing. Keep in mind that this is a temporary solution and should only be used on those especially cold days.

To read more about preventing against frozen pipes, click here.

What should you do if your pipes freeze?
Even if you take preventative measures, there is, unfortunately, no guarantee that you will escape frozen pipes this winter. The good news is, there are a couple of steps you can take to get your pipes thawed.
  • Start by opening cabinet doors to get warm air circulating around the pipes.
  • Use a hairdryer or heating pad to warm the pipes.

If your pipes have already burst, call a plumber immediately to mitigate the damage to your home.

To read more about thawing frozen pipes, click here.

Whether you’re adding more insulation around your home’s plumbing or re-visiting your homeowners policy, be sure that you’re ready for whatever life throws your way.