WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – As record cold temperatures make their way into our area, keep your pipes in mind.
The expansion of frozen water can put tremendous stress on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.
Usually the pipes that freeze are exposed to severe cold weather, like outdoor hose bibs or water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like garages or kitchen cabinets.
- Tightly close doors and windows to the outside.
- Insulate pipes in unheated or drafty areas. Hardware and plumbing supply stores carry insulation to keep pipes from freezing.
- Shut off and drain the pipes leading to your outside faucets so no water is left to freeze, expand and cause a leak in these lines.
- Close the inside valves and drain the pipes leading to your outside hose bib (faucet).
- Know where your main shut off valve is and label it. Minimize the potential for water damage by ensuring that everyone in the household knows how to shut off the water in case of an emergency.
- Open the cabinets beneath any place with a water supply, such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This will allow warm air to circulate. (Remove any toxic substances first if there are small children or pets in the home.)
- To prevent your pipes from freezing, allow a faucet to drip cold water slowly. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main water shut off valve. It does NOT need to be a running trickle.
- Identify whether the problem is throughout the house or in one area. If it's only in one area of your household, you may be able to thaw the pipe by opening the cabinets and allowing the warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
- NEVER thaw a pipe with an open flame. You can use a hair dryer on low or a portable heater. Avoid using electrical appliances if there is standing water.
- Use warm water to soak towels then wrap the towels around the frozen pipes.
- If the problem persists, contact a licensed plumber for additional guidance.