Keep Your Pipes From Freezing

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - With temperatures dropping, your pipes may be in danger of freezing, or possibly bursting.  It's something that can cost a lot of money in the long run.  Frank Culpepper of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing explains what many people may discover over the next few days.

"You try to cut the faucet on, and you either get a small amount of water or no water at all coming through your pipes."

If this is what you experience at any point over the next week or so, you're probably dealing with a frozen water pipe.  Preventative maintenance is the key, Frank says.  First, you've got to think insulation.

"Anything that is exposed pipe, either under a crawl space or un-insulated exterior wall needs to be insulated with pipe wrap," he says.

Pipe insulation is available at most hardware stores.  But, if your pipes aren't insulated, you'll have to do your best to warm them up.  That leads us to tip number two:  opening cabinet doors.  Cory Unrein of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing explains.

"You have plumbing in the wall behind the sink that central heat and air in the house would keep warm and keep from freezing."

Tip number three:  keeping your faucets running.

Frank says a small drip, not a fast run, works best. "Just enough to keep ice crystals from forming inside the pipes," he adds.

However, if you find yourself with a frozen pipe, the number one priority is to keep it from busting.

"First, I would suggest cutting off the main water supply to the house because if you have a frozen pipe. If it thaws out in your testing or you break that pipe, you don't want your house flooded," Frank warns.

Before calling a plumber, you can use a hairdryer to try to thaw out the frozen pipe in question.  Frank adds, "The thing you do not want to use, and I stress do not want to use, is a blowtorch.  Whether it be on PVC, copper, whatever.  It's a bad idea."

Don't forget outside faucets as well.  Cover them with a faucet cover or wrap them with a rag to keep the wind from getting to them.