Preventing Water Frozen Pipes

This week, temperatures in the area are expected to fall below zero for the first time since this year.  There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of pipes in your home freezing or breaking.  Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to the outside, such as outdoor hose outlets, water sprinkler lines and water pipes along an outside wall or in unheated interior areas such as cabinets, closets, attics, garages, basements and crawl spaces. 

To Prevent Frozen Pipes:

  1. Eliminate sources of cold air near pipes by sealing drafty windows and doors, and insulating walls and attics.
  2. If pipes are exposed to cold air, wrap them with insulation or even newspaper will help.
  3. Keep water moving through pipes by turning on the faucet farthest from your main valve to a very small, steady trickle.
  4. Run warm water through your pipes if you begin to see a decrease in water pressure to loosen any ice that may be forming within your pipes.
  5. Keep pipes in cabinets and vanities warmer by opening the doors to those cabinets to let warm air in.

If Your Pipes Freeze:

If you find you have a frozen pipe, you should immediately take steps to thaw the pipe to keep it from bursting.

  1. First, locate and shut off the main water supply valve in case a pipe has broken.
  2. Next, open the faucet so that water will flow through the pipe once the area is melted. This will help melt more ice.
  3. Then, gently apply heat with a hairdryer around the pipe. Keep all sources of heat away from flammable materials and do not use any open flame devices. Also, do not use devices that will cause the melted ice to boil, as that can also cause pipes to break.
  4. Call a licensed plumber if you cannot locate the frozen section, if you are unable to reach it, or if you are unable to thaw it.
  5. Check for other frozen pipes in your home or business, especially those pipes that are located along an exterior wall or bring the water into the building at the foundation.
  6. Once you have thawed the frozen area, check the pipes for leaks to make sure the ice did not cause any cracks or damage to your pipes.
  7. If your water meter or the pipe entering your home is frozen and you have municipal water, call the DPW at (508) 529-3067 or the Police Department at (508) 529-3200.  The dispatcher will contact the Water Department to assist you.