TOPEKA, Kansas (KSNT) – A freezing winter is sweeping northeastern Kansas this week. With temperatures dropping to single digits, experts say it’s important for homeowners to protect their home’s pipes from freezing.
Dave Cobler is the owner of Ace Plumbing in Topeka. He said it was a busy time of year for his plumbing and heating business. Cobler said there are some simple things you can do around the house to avoid costly plumbing issues caused by the cold.
“Check the door seals, window seals and your foundation,” Cobler said. “People who live in crawl space type homes, they would want to make sure that their crawl space windows are closed and probably insulated.”
All of these things can help the heat stay inside your home. Cobler said that you can also open the cabinets under your sinks to allow heat to more easily reach your pipes. He said this is especially useful if your sink is on an outside wall.
Another popular trick is to let the water run down your sink, but Cobler said it’s important to make sure it’s a continuous flow and not just a drop.
“If you let it run, it will keep that cold or hot water line from freezing,” Cober said. “If it drains too slowly, it can eventually freeze the drain lines, which is the downside of letting the water drip. “
Ace Plumbing is located at 908 N Kansas Ave in Topeka and can be contacted at (785) 234-3384.
AAA of Kansas also has tips for making sure the pipes don’t freeze and how to recover if they do.
Prevention of frozen pipes:
- Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how it works.
- Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and the attic of your home.
- Seal the spaces around the pipes that allow cold air to get inside. You should also check for air leaks around electrical wiring, vents, and dryer hoses. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out.
- Disconnect the garden hoses. If possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain the water from the pipes leading to the outdoor faucets. This reduces the risk of the pipes inside the house freezing.
- If a freeze is expected, consider letting lukewarm water drip lightly overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall. Even a light trickle of water can keep your pipes from freezing.
- When there is a risk of freezing, do not turn down the thermostat at bedtime. Instead, keep the same setting day and night. Drops in temperature, which are more frequent at night, could freeze your pipes.
- Open the cabinet doors. This will allow the heat to reach the uninsulated pipes located under the sinks.
- If you are going on vacation or leaving your home for an extended period of time, consider maintaining minimum heat to avoid freezing.
Recovery of frozen pipes:
- If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, your pipes are probably frozen.
- You may be able to use a hair dryer to thaw out a frozen pipe. Start by warming the section of pipe closest to the faucet, then work your way up to the cooler part of the pipe.
- Never use a hair dryer or electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
- Never attempt to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame. It could cause a fire.
- If your water lines have already burst, turn off the water at the main house shut-off valve, leave the taps open, and call a plumber.