As winter begins and the temperatures continue to drop, now is the time to start taking preventive measures to protect your pipes and water supply and help control your utility costs. When temperatures drop below freezing, homeowners need to take action in order to prevent pipes from freezing. When pipes freeze it creates a lot of pressure inside the pipe which can cause it to burst and can lead to serious flooding and expensive repairs. This damage is avoidable with the right preparation.
The pipes most at risk are those in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics and garages. Stafford County’s Department of Utilities has put together some helpful tips.
How to Prevent Frozen Water Pipes:
- Locate and label your water main shut-off valve and ensure that everyone in your household knows where it is located. Knowing how to quickly access and turn off your water can limit damage should a pipe freeze or burst. While this can seem simple, shut-off valves can sometimes be challenging to find, especially during an emergency.
- Insulate your pipes and outside faucets (hose spigots) in unheated areas. If you have pipes in an unheated garage or crawl space, wrap the water pipes with insulation.
- Disconnect, drain and store garden hoses. A frozen garden hose connected to an interior pipe can increase pressure throughout the plumbing system, causing damage. It only takes one overnight freeze to burst the spigot or connecting pipe.
- During freezing temperatures:
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. If you have small children or pets, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals from your cabinets.
- Drip cold water from the farthest faucet from your main valve. Moving water keeps pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night. If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on your home no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the event of a burst pipe, shut off your main water valve and call a licensed and registered plumber immediately. Stafford County Utilities is responsible for water mains and all connections to your water meter, not pipes located on your property.
For more information on how to protect your pipes, visit the link below.