Michigan Frozen Pipes

What to do to stop Michigan Frozen Pipes

There is a misconception that pipes break due to freezing, but the reality is that they break because of an increase in water pressure. Continued freezing causes the pipe to expand, and the pipe will burst where there is a pocket in the pipe that does not have any ice the pressure causes it to break.

Being proactive and taking a few preventative measures before it gets cold can save you thousands of dollars in the future if you have a busted frozen pipe.

Things to do to prevent frozen pipes before winter gets here

Drain the water from your swimming pools and lawn sprinkler systems.  You should have them blown out so the water will not accumulate in the pipes throughout the winter.

  • Insulate pipes in your home that may be exposed to colder air, these pipes are usually in the attic or crawl space,  a cheap alternative to buying insulation and to help in preventing frozen pipes is to use newspapers. Use heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables to wrap pipes. The more insulation, the better to bring the temperature above freezing.
  • Seal leaks with caulk so as not to expose the pipes to cold air
  • Disconnect water hoses and shut off the valves to drain the water if you are not using your faucets. Keep the outside valves open, so you do not trap the water inside and to give the pipes room to expand.

If you use heat cables or heat tape use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Make sure that you are using the product for the use intended (exterior or interior).

How to protect your home from frozen pipes when going out of town.

If you are planning on traveling during the winter months, you should leave the heat on in your home, set the temperature no lower than 55ºF this will keep the house warm enough to prevent frozen pipes from occurring. Ask a neighbor to check on your home, so if there is a water leak, it does not go unnoticed until you get back. Also, let a slow trickle of water drip through your pipe this can prevent the pipes from freezing because the temperature of the pipes will be above the freezing.

What to do if you have frozen Pipes?

The most important rule with a pipe break is to turn the water off at the main valve. If the pipes are frozen and there are no breaks, keep the faucet open to warm the pipes.  You should start at the area closes to the faucet and working slowly to the area of pipe that is the coldest

Apply heat to the pipe using an electric heating pad, blow dryer, space heater or heat lamp.

When in doubt, call a licensed plumber. 

What not to do

Never try to use an open flame or a torch. A blow torch will make the water boil causing the pipe to explode.

Putting these tips in place will ensure that you do not have any frozen pipe problems during the winter.

Finally, click on How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide in your Home to get more helpful information on home safety.