Freezing Water Pipes & Disaster

The mercury has certainly dropped around the Portland Metro area lately. Frozen pipes are always a risk when temperatures skid to the freezing-and-below mark. Here are a few tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing, and what to do if disaster strikes:

  • Let your faucets drip overnight, particularly un-insulated pipes located on an exterior wall. Lukewarm water is your best bet.
  • Keep cabinet doors to those areas open to allow the heat from your house to circulate around pipes near exterior walls.
  • Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night. Experts recommend setting it no lower than 68 degrees.
  • Know where your main valve and water heater valves are, just in case.

Monitoring your pipes:

  • The first sign of freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet. Check the flow before you go to bed and when you wake up.
  • Check your pipes around unheated areas, exterior walls, and crawl spaces. They tend to be the most vulnerable.
  • Check for drafts and caulk areas near pipes where you feel cold air coming in.

If your pipe freezes:

  • Inside, a hair dryer can do a great job of warming up the pipe. Just make sure you’re not standing in water!
  • Heat water on your stove and soak towels in the hot water, then wrap your frozen pipe in the towels. Start with the portion of the pipe nearest the faucet.

If your pipe bursts:

  • Turn off your water at the main valve.


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