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If Your Pipes Have Frozen Before, Here's How To Keep It From Happening Again

by Feride Halma

If your pipes have frozen in the past, it's important to take steps to make sure this does not happen again. You may have gotten lucky and not suffered any damage last time, but frozen pipes are prone to bursting -- and burst pipes can flood a home and cause dramatic damage. Here's how to protect your freeze-prone pipes when an intense cold spell is coming on.

Keep cabinets and cupboards open.

Often, the pipes that freeze are those that run along an outside wall, such as that of your kitchen. If this is the case with your pipes, one way to keep them from freezing again is to keep any cupboards or cabinets against that wall open. This will ensure the heat from the inside of your home spreads into those cabinets and through the wall to keep the pipes warm. If the room behind which the pipes are found tends to get chilly, then turn the heat up or turn a space heater on in that room to keep it warmer.

Let the faucet drip.

If the pipe that froze before is connected to a sink or tub, then leave the sink or tub on just a tiny bit so a little water trickles out. This will keep the water flowing constantly through the pipes, which will help prevent freezing. Just make sure your drain is open and working well before you do this so you don't end up overflowing your sink.

Blow dry the area every now and then.

If the pipes that froze before run behind a wall and you know approximately where they are, one thing that can help is aiming a warm blow dryer at that area of the wall for a few minutes at a time. You don't have to do this constantly. Doing it every hour or two will help counteract the cold from the outdoors and prevent the pipes from freezing. Blow dryers are not hot enough to start fires or cause damage -- don't worry.

Have a plumber come insulate the pipes.

You might not be able to get this done before the next cold spell sets in, but you should schedule a time to have it done nonetheless. Your plumber, such as Blackburn Bennett Plumbing & Heating Inc, can add extra insulation to pipes that are already insulated but freezing anyways. He or she can also insulate any pipes that don't have any insulation yet. The extra layer of insulation will keep the cold from penetrating the pipes and causing freezing, so you don't have to be as cautious about taking the steps above every time the temperature drops.