Wintertime. That lovely part of the year where family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas are all around and we start wishing our cars were still hot when we got in them. Unfortunately, this lovely time of year brings a common headache for homeowners. Frozen Pipes. Below you’ll find some professional tips to follow so that you are ready for the coldest season of the year.

The first step is identifying that you have a frozen pipe, and you can tell if your faucets are slowing down or are not letting out water. At this point, your plan will be to get downstairs (or wherever your water line routes to) and check that your water is still running and not shut off and that you also don’t have any major leaks.

From this point, if you do still have running water and you don’t have any leaks, now you make the decision to do it yourself or call a licensed professional. If you decide to do it yourself, you will use items such as a space heater (or even a hairdryer) to try to slowly apply heat to the affected pipe and thaw it out. Another common practice is to apply heat tape, which can be found at local home improvement stores. Heat tape will wrap around the affected pipe, regulate the temperature of the pipe, and ultimately heat it up and (hopefully) melt your problems. If none of these are successful, be sure to call a professional immediately.

Something to be aware of, be sure to never use an open flame to thaw out frozen pipes. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to a severe risk of open flame in the home. If you do decide you want to fix the problems yourself, be sure to go about it as safely as possible and follow all safety measures.

Another tip for if you already have a small leak is to simply let it drip. Contain the dripping water, but allowing it to drain slowly will alleviate some pressure off of the pipe and prevent a burst.

The mantra to remember in the cold months is that “most pipes that burst are frozen, but not all frozen pipes burst.” We’re here to prevent that. If you notice your pipes are frozen but not leaking, simply open the cabinets that surround the pipe and crank the heat up in your home. You can also throw a space heater on it as well, but DO NOT turn on the water. Turning on the water will heavily increase the pressure on the pipe and likely cause a burst. If you have a garage that has water lines going through it, make sure to keep the garage door closed and keep its temperature moderate enough to not allow any pipes to freeze.

Should you ever run into this pesky problem in your home, not to worry, you now have the tools to overcome.

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