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4 January 2016

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Even though temperatures have been above average for this time of year, we are inevitably going to get hit with colder air sooner than later. Because it hasn’t been an issue just yet, homeowners tend to get a bit lazy and forget to prepare their home. Frozen pipes have been a problem for Charlotte homeowners year after year, so see below to find out how you can prevent it from happening this year and what to do if it does happen to you.


If the temperatures are going to drop below freezing for 24 hours or more (and that includes with wind temperatures):

  • Be sure to insulate all of your exposed pipes well before the cold weather settles in. Pipe insulation is sold in just about every home improvement store and is quite inexpensive. It’s especially important to insulate the ones in unheated basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and anywhere else where they might be subject to frigid outdoor temperatures.
  • Disconnect and drain all outdoor hoses. Cover the outside faucets with an insulated cover you can purchase at a home improvement store or use insulation or even a rag and a plastic bag with either heavy rubber bands or duct tape.
  • Keep the thermostats in your home set to at least 58°F when you’re going to be away from the home for extended periods of time. Turning the heat completely off will leave pipes susceptible to freezing and the possibility of cracking.
  • If you have pipes that have been a problem for you in the past, consider relocating them to provide an increased layer of protection. If relocating them is not plausible, be sure to let those faucets run with a small steady stream overnight and during the day if it will not get above freezing at all.
  • If you have any showers or sinks that back up to an outside wall, be sure to leave those faucets open to a small steady stream.
  • If your water heater is located in the garage or any other unheated space, be sure to leave a faucet open with a slow steady stream somewhere in your home so the pipes to the water heater do not freeze.
  • Open up all the cabinet doors under sinks to allow the warm air to circulate around the pipes under there.
  • If you have a hose spigot on the outside of your home opposite the kitchen sink then be sure to remove the hose and open that outdoor faucet to a slow steady stream as that short pipe with water in it is a common one to freeze and split.

If a pipe does freeze in your home, there is not much that a plumbing company can do for you as it is very hard to pinpoint where in the pipe there is frozen water.  The damage occurs and is discovered not when it is frozen, but when it thaws out due to the expanding and contracting of that pipe causing cracks in the pipe.  To minimize the risk of damage once you do have a pipe that is frozen:

  • Open the faucet where no water is coming out and place a space heater blowing on the outside wall and under the sink to warm up the pipes causing the ice to thaw and relieving the pressure building up.

  • If you have no hot water only, then find a blow dryer and warm up the cold water inlet pipe to your water heater.   


It is critical to not only know where your main shutoff valve to your home is Before the cold weather hits, but to test that it will actually work if a pipe does burst and you need to shut the water off very quickly.  Go ahead and go around your home now and test all those shutoff valves including the main house valve.  If any do not work or leak, give us a call and we will be glad to help.  We specialize in providing fast, high quality repairs, replacements and installation services throughout Charlotte, Concord, Huntersville and the surrounding areas. Contact The Good Guys at Three Way Plumbing right away at 704-795-9349.
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