Published on January 17th, 2018
Freezing pipes are almost a given when winter arrives in Chicago. It’s a risk we Chicagoans must be informed of and prepared for. Frozen pipes happen to someone somewhere in Chicago every winter. But it doesn’t have to be you! Stand up to winter’s bullying.
Prevent Freezing Pipes Inside and Out
Remember this science lesson in school? Water expands as it freezes. The water in pipes exposed to severe cold will freeze and expand. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on pipes causing pipes to burst.
It’s best to prevent winter from socking it to you with freezing and bursting pipes before severe cold makes its way to Chicago. Blue Frost Heating & Cooling recommends taking preventive measures before sub-zero temperatures arrive on the scene. So it’s best to have the following tasks completed in early fall.
- Disconnect garden hoses from the spigots (also known as hose bibs) outside your home. Open the spigots to allow water to drain. Cover them.
- If you have a pool, drain the water from it.
- Blow out water sprinkler system supply lines. Putting anti-freeze in your water sprinkler lines is a bad idea, by the way. Don’t do it. It’s toxic to animals, landscaping and you and yours.
- Wrap the pipes in crawl spaces and those that run along the exterior walls of your home. Use UL-Listed heat tape or foam pipe insulation.
- Don’t forget about pipes you may have in your garage. Insult those pipes, and keep the garage doors closed.
- Seal your windows.
- Add insulation to exterior walls and unheated spaces in your house like attics, basements and crawl spaces for example. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
Once Sub-zero Temperatures Arrive, …
- Know where the main water valve for your house is. Find the valve on your water heater. You’ll need to know where these valves are located in case disaster strikes.
- If you plan to be gone on vacation for more than a day, set the thermostat to no less than 68 degrees and shut off the water supply valves to your washing machine.
- Allow lukewarm water to drip from one sink faucet. Choose the sink that is farthest from where the water comes into your house. Even a trickle will prevent pipes from freezing.
- Leave the cupboard doors below your sinks open. (It’s okay, Mom.) Allow the heat inside your home to circulate around the pipes below your sinks to prevent frozen pipes.
- Keep freezing temperatures and cold drafts away from pipes. Pipes freeze more easily when wind drafts combine with freezing temperatures. Close windows and cover open-air vents that are near pipes.
- Heat your basement. (Remember that space heater suggestion in “What To Do When The Heat Goes Out”?)
Keep an Eye Out for Freezing Pipes
- Reduced water flow and pressure. If water flow is reduced, your pipes may be freezing.
- Freezing pipes around your water meter
- Frozen pipes in unheated spaces
- Pipes near exterior walls that may be freezing
- Freezing pipes in crawl spaces
- Cold drafts near pipes (chimney, doors, windows)
If you find a frozen pipe, there may be other freezes nearby. Investigate!
If Freezing Pipes Happen, Do This
If winter strikes you a disastrous blow causing pipes to freeze,
- Open the faucet near the freeze.
- Start thawing the freezing pipes nearest the faucet.
- Use a good hair dryer or heating pad on the pipe where it is frozen, or soak towels in very hot water and wrap them around the frozen pipes. A blow torch? No, guys. Bad idea.
- Continue to apply heat until the water pressure returns to 100 percent.
If you are unable to reach the frozen pipe, call your licensed plumber at Blue Frost Heating & Cooling, (630) 761-9700. Write our number down, and keep it nearby for quick access. If and when disaster strikes, call our emergency hotline, (630) 326-6400.
If Pipes Freeze and Burst, Do This
- Find that main valve, and shut the water off!
- Close the valve on top of your water heater if the break is in a hot water pipe.
- Call Blue Frost Heating & Cooling, (630) 761-9007. After hours call, (630) 326-6400.
Freezing pipes do not have to happen to you. When you take steps to prevent pipes from freezing, you can rest at ease knowing a frozen pipe won’t take you by surprise. Want more information on how to avoid the messy and often expensive winter disaster? Contact Blue Frost Heating & Cooling. We are licensed and reliable. Ask us about temperature-controlled thermal convection powered hot water recirculation valves, ICE LOC or RedyTemp devices when you call (630) 761-9700 today.