Frozen pipes: How to prevent them and how to thaw them


ILLINOIS (WAND) - The American Red Cross is working to make sure you know how to prevent your pipes from freezing and how to thaw them if they do freeze.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are those exposed to cold weather like swimming pool supply lines and water sprinkler lines. Pipes in unheated indoor areas such as basements and crawl spaces are also at high risk of freezing.

Before the onset of cold weather, the Red Cross recommends you drain water from pools and sprinkler lines, remove and drain hoses, add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces, and consider relocating exposed pipes.

To prevent frozen pipes, keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around the plumbing. Let cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.

If you go away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home. It should be set no lower than 55 degrees.

To thaw frozen pipes, keep the faucet open, apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around it, a hair dryer, portable space heater, or wrapping the pipes with towels soaked in hot water.

Never try to use an open flame device to heat pipes.

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