If pipes are frozen, should you leave the faucet on? Here’s how to thaw pipes during winter storms.

If pipes are frozen, should you leave the faucet on? Here’s how to thaw pipes during winter storms.

As an persistent winter weather pattern continues to bring ability outages and subzero temperatures across dozens of states this week, many Americans may be dealing with freeze pipes. Water expands as it freezes, which puts pressure on alloy or plastic pipes that can cause them to break. many homes, but not all, are built with urine pipes nestled within a family ‘s building insulating material to protect them from freezing temperatures. however, with extreme point cold temps this week, your house may have faint spots making it susceptible to pipes freeze and possibly burst. Homes in the northerly parts of the U.S. may be at less risk, but those in the east, middle atlantic and South could be more prone to freezing pipes. That ‘s because the farther south you go, the more likely a home may have pipes that are not insulated.

“ Water pipes in the attic, for exemplar, would be more common in the South, ” Remington Brown, senior engineer director with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, previously told USA TODAY. Winter storm : 3 dead in North Carolina crack ; millions silent without ability in Texas besides more at risk for freezing are pipes in basements, garages, crawlspaces, kitchens and other rooms with external walls such as bathrooms. If you discover you have a break pipe, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, normally found at the water meter or where the main line enters your house, said John Galeotafiore, who oversees screen of home products and office gear for Consumer Reports, which has tips for dealing with freeze pipes on its web site. After that, check all other faucets in your family to see whether you have extra fixed pipes. If one shriek freezes, others may freeze, besides .View Playlist: Protect valuable items from harsh winter weather “ Your aged houses are going to be credibly more susceptible to this because the insulating material wasn ’ thyroxine as full back them and they might have routed some pipes in places where possibly they shouldn ’ thymine have, ” Galeotafiore said. “ Having said that, there could be some new construction that people good didn ’ triiodothyronine do it the right way. ” here ‘s how to thaw flash-frozen pipes and prevent it from happening again .

How to unfreeze pipes

If water flow coming from a faucet is slower than common, you may have a freeze pipe. If you can see the affect organ pipe, you can attempt to thaw it to prevent it from bursting. here ‘s what to do : • Leave the faucet on and watch for water flow. Running water, even cold water, will help melt ice in the pipe. • Use a hair dryer to warm the pipe. “ It is easy to use and safe, ” Brown said. “ You would start from the faucet and work your manner along to heat that pipe up. ” • You can also use a heating pad, heat lamp or space heater in the room where the organ pipe is. Towels soaked in urine can be wrapped around the pipe, excessively. Apply heating system on the slope airless to the faucet, Galeotafiore said, “ because if you start on the other conclusion, you can build up some pressure in there and possibly cause the pipe to burst. ”

Continue to apply heat until full water pressure returns. • If you ca n’t find the freeze pipe section or it is not approachable, call a licensed plumber. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or any other device with an open flame to attempt to thaw the pipe. “ You don ’ metric ton want to use anything that is going to ignite, ” Brown said .

How to prevent pipes from freezing

many homes will have exposed pipes within their homes, possibly under the sink or in a garage or an attic. There are ways to help prevent them from freezing. • Wrap the pipe in makeshift insulation. A immediate specify is to use newspaper or towels, said Anthony Tornetta, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, which has tips to prevent and thaw frigid pipes on its web site. “ If you can add insulation to those areas, that ’ s a beginning line of defense mechanism, ” he said. “ a little as one-fourth of an column inch wrapped around the pipe will help, particularly if you are in areas that do n’t freeze for an extend period of time. This is a bass freeze, but it is going to pass. ” • Open cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom that might have pipes near the outside of the home. “ That allows warmer air within the house to flow through the cabinet to stop those pipes from freeze, ” Tornetta said. • Keep your home warm to help prevent pipes from freezing. Do n’t drop the temperature down at night in the home during arctic weather, Galeotafiore says. “ That sounds counter-intuitive to what we normally say about energy conservation, but you have to do that because if you have a pipe abound it can be thousands of dollars of damage, ” he said. • Use space heaters safely. If you use it to thaw a pipe or to keep a board affectionate, make certain it ’ s not near anything flammable, such as curtains, blankets or those towels you may be using on pipes. “ It ’ s a big resource to heat your dwelling, but you have to use it vigorously, ” Tornetta said. • Constantly run a small stream of water from faucets that might have pipes susceptible to freezing. “ If the house is heated and you open the faucets up and you open the cabinet doors, even if you are in a actually, in truth cold environment, it should be a pretty dear fix, ” Brown said. • If you are not going to be at home, ask someone to regularly check your property to ensure the heat is working and the pipes have not frozen.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter : @ MikeSnider. This fib was primitively published on USA TODAY in January 2019. Winter weather: How to keep dogs condom in frigid temperatures ( and how much it will cost )View Playlist: Arctic temperatures, snow and ice blast the US

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