Please read our safety
information before attempting any testing, maintenance
or repairs. Some equipment may rely on a cold water supply. Take
appropriate steps to shut down any equipment that may be adversely
affected by shutting off the water supply. Such equipment includes,
but is not limited to, a boiler or other heating system.
Frozen pipes burst because as water freezes,
it expands. With enough expansion, pipes will develop cracks.
The cracks may not be visible but they will leak nonetheless when
the ice melts.
Tips to Keep Pipes from Freezing
Pipes in exterior walls, unheated portions of
your home and outdoors are at risk of freezing. Buried pipes must
be buried below the frost line to be safely insulated. The frost
line varies by geographic location.
Pipes in exterior walls are subject to the cold.
While they may be somewhat insulated, they can still become cold
enough to freeze. In some cases the pipes are located in the exterior
wall because they serve a fixture that is placed against that
wall. In the case of a sink, it may be helpful to open the cabinet
doors under the sink to allow warm interior air to warm the wall
and help protect the pipe. A portable heater can be placed a safe
distance from the wall and combustible material as an aid to warm
It may be possible to fill cavities in walls around pipes by poking a small hole through the interior wall and spraying expanding, insulating foam through the hole. The key problem is knowing whether you adequately surrounded the pipe and filled the void. Adding too little foam may leave you with the false impression that you have solved the problem. Calculate the approximate volume of space between the studs, purchase enough foam to fill the void and poke the hole slightly above the point you want to fill up to.
If it is impossible to adequately warm the wall
containing the water pipes, then leave a trickle of water running
from the faucet. Open both the hot and cold water valves. Moving
water freezes much more slowly that still water. Leave a trickle
running from any faucet that tends to freeze up. Leaving water
running from the far end of the house also helps to protect the
main water line runs.
Exposed pipes in the attic, basement or crawl
space can be wrapped with insulating material or electrical wire
heating wrap designed to wrap around and warm pipes. Leaving a
trickle of water running from faucets, especially at the far end
of the house, as described above, is also helpful.