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Prevent Frozen Pipes and How to Thaw Them if They do Freeze– Worcester, Boston

29 Jan 2014

We have had our fair share of below freezing temperatures in Boston and Worcester this winter. Plumbers have been busy this winter because when the temperature plummets, the risk of having frozen pipes goes up. Frozen pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during this kind of weather. The frozen pipes most often occur in unheated interior spaces like basements, attics, and garages. But pipes that run through your cabinets or that are against an exterior wall are also at risk.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing and how to thaw them if they do.

How to prevent pipes from freezing

Take measures to keep your pipes warm and water running when it gets below freezing outside.

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water pipes in the garage.
  • Open cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathrooms to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the day and night.
  • If you plan to be away, leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 55° F on in your home.
  • For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in those areas.

How to thaw your pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Most likely, the pipes against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation are the ones that are frozen. If the water is still running, you can take the following steps but if you suspect a more serious problem, call a plumber.

  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber in Boston.

If your you need supplemental heat, you can add a space heater to a room where pipes may be at risk. For plumbing repair following frozen pipes, or for more information, contact Greater Boston Plumbing and Heating.

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