Granted, Benjamin Franklin had fire safety in mind when, in 1736, he famously advised Philadelphians that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” But his words could just as easily apply to keeping your home safe from freezing pipes.
And for anyone living in an area where temperatures regularly dip below freezing (which is most of the country this year; thank you, Polar Vortex), a few precautionary steps to protect your plumbing can be a cost-effective way to avoid cleaning up after a burst pipe. Consider that the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) says one frozen pipe that bursts can result in more than $5,000 worth of water-related damages.
Read on to find out what the IBHS says you can do to stay ahead of the freeze.
To check on your pipes, IBHS suggests turning on each faucet (both hot and cold). If there’s only a trickle of water or, even worse, there’s no water coming out at all, then you should suspect a frozen pipe. The source of the freeze is most likely near an exterior wall or where the main water supply enters your home, says IBHS, so leave the faucet on and use a blow dryer (never an open flame torch or other device) to heat the pipe until there’s a steady flow of water.
Of course, if you can’t locate the frozen pipe or just aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, call a licensed plumber, who may also have advice (like relocating certain pipes) to prevent a similar freeze in the future.