Help! What do I do about frozen pipes?

It can happen to anyone during a cold winter. You turn on the faucet of your bathroom or kitchen sink only to find that nothing is coming out. Maybe there’s a tiny trickle of water, but for all intents and purposes your pipes are blocked. This can happen for a number of reasons, but when temperatures drop below freezing the culprit is usually frozen plumbing.

Frozen pipes can cause a lot of headaches that go beyond simply not having water. Water expands as it freezes, and that can put a lot of strain on your pipes. If this goes unchecked, you could be dealing with some costly plumbing repairs in the near future.

leave water dripping to keep pipes from freezing

Image via By State Farm

If frozen pipes are a common problem in your home, there are some things you can do about it. As with most home maintenance and repair issues, the best way to deal with frozen pipes is to keep them from freezing in the first place. This sounds difficult since nobody can control how cold the weather can get, but there are some simple tricks that should help keep water flowing through your pipes even in the dead of winter.

1. Keep Your Water Running

You obviously don’t want to leave your water running on full blast all the time, but on particularly cold nights it might help to leave your water running at a small drizzle to keep at least some water moving through your pipes. Water is far less likely to freeze when it’s still flowing, so this quick fix could keep your pipes from freezing.

2. Use the Warm Air from Your House

heat frozen pipe

Image via by State Farm

Naturally, one of the best ways to keep pipes from freezing is to keep them from getting too cold. If a pipe is in an outer wall that will be exposed to the elements, this may mean installing insulation in your walls, something that can be costly and time-consuming. For bathroom and kitchen sinks that are close your house’s outer walls, simply opening up your sink cabinet doors can expose your pipes to the warm air within your home. This is a simple yet surprisingly effective solution that won’t involve costly construction projects or leaving your water on overnight.

3. Fix Frozen Pipes as Soon as Possible

If you found that some of your pipes have frozen, you will want to fix the problem as soon as possible. As we said before, water expands when it freezes, and expansion in a pipe can cause a lot of damage. Even if you manage to thaw the pipe, you will probably have to fix a leak. A good plumber will be able to fix any cracks that may have formed in a frozen pipe, so call one as soon as you notice that any of your pipes are frozen. Waiting to do so could result in serious damage to your plumbing as well as water damage to the rest of your home.

 By Nick Wert