Urgent: Preventing Busted Pipes in Frigid Weather

Leaving a steady stream of water running is the best way to prevent frozen pipes. With WV temperatures dipping well below zero, homeowners are urged to take precautions.With temperatures in the Huntington-Charleston, WV, area expected to go down to -17, we at Morris Insurance Services remind everyone to leave their water running for the duration of the cold snap. Our houses in this region of the country were not built for such frigid temperatures, pipes are vulnerable to freezing and busting. Keeping the water in your pipes moving is the best way to prevent frozen pipes. Here are a few tips to keep your house safe:

  • Make sure to leave more than one faucet running, especially the ones furthest away from your main water line. A good rule is to turn on all faucets located on exterior walls.
  • Don’t turn off the water during the day. While temperatures tend to be colder at night, daytime temperatures below freezing can cause just as many problems.
  • Make sure to leave a stream of water running. While it’s tempting to only leave water dripping, water can still freeze. Keep your faucets running with a steady stream of water. Many homeowners worry about the added expense of leaving water running. However, this approach will only add a few dollars to your monthly water bill. Having frozen or busted pipes can be a much more expensive headache.
  • Leave both the hot and cold water running. When the hot water sits in the pipes for long periods of time, it will cool down and could freeze.
  • Leave the cabinet doors open to keep pipes warm.
  • If you have water lines in your garage, be sure to keep all doors tightly closed and only open your garage door when necessary.   
  • Even if you will not be home, keep the thermostat set at a minimum of 65 degrees during these very cold snaps. While this could slightly increase your monthly cost, it is worth the extra money to ensure your pipes are protected.

Be sure to take the same precautions with your vacation homes, vacant and or unoccupied  properties. If you are a landlord, be sure to talk to your tenants about these precautions. During these really cold snaps it is highly important to check on your unoccupied properties daily.   

If your pipes do freeze, try to get them unthawed as quickly and safely as possible. Pressure on frozen pipes can quickly cause them to burst.

  • Try to pinpoint where the frozen pipes are located. Most likely, pipes are frozen somewhere on an exterior wall of your home.
  • Keep the faucet open as you treat the frozen pipe. As the pipe thaws, you will see a trickle of water coming from the faucet. Running water, especially hot, will help completely thaw the line.
  • The Red Cross recommends applying heat to the frozen section of pipe using a safe heat source, such as an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe or an electric hairdryer.  Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device.
  • Continue until full water pressure is restored.
  • Be sure to check all other faucets in your home to make sure they are not frozen. Often, if one pipe is frozen, another may be too.
  • If you cannot find the frozen pipe, or are unsuccessful call a licensed plumber as soon as possible.

If you don’t need to go out in this weather don’t, check on your neighbors daily especially the elderly  and make sure all of your smoke detectors are working properly. If you need to use a space heater make sure it is UL listed and keep everything away from it while it is in operation. Please remember to take care of your pets.