It's going to stay bitterly cold -- well below freezing -- into the New Year in the Buffalo area and that means water pipes in homes are vulnerable to freezing and bursting.
To prevent the messy and expensive disaster, here are some tips from the American Red Cross on how to keep your pipes from freezing:
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
If your pipes do freeze, here's what you can do to thaw them:
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- 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. 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.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too.