What do you do when pipes freeze?

What should you do if your pipes freeze?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Below freezing temperatures are causing problems for some homeowners.

One viewer called us Wednesday morning saying her pipes were frozen and needed advice about what do. The woman didn’t want to go on camera, but she said the only water she has access to now is the cold water in her bathroom. She believes the only reason she’s getting water from there is because the toilet is always running. She’s hoping warmer weather will cause those pipes to thaw soon.

With the widespread winter weather affecting so many, OnTime Service has some advice we all can use.

Older homes typically use copper piping or galvanized steel…which doesn’t allow expansion when pipes freeze.

President of OnTime Service, Kerry Adkins, said in that case, your hair dryer can be used to warm up frozen pipes, but that’s only if you know where the freeze starts and that your pipes aren’t damaged.

“If the pipe is damaged, when it thaws out, it’s gonna start spraying water everywhere. It’s not going to be a small leak; it’s going to be a big leak,” Adkins said.

If that happens, Adkins recommends finding your home’s main water shutoff valve and immediately calling a plumber.

He said outside pipes and lines that run through attics or garages are the most vulnerable in frigid temps.

“So, insulate your pipes anywhere where they are exposed. When it gets super cold like it just did, it’s a good idea to let the faucets inside your house drip just so that we keep some water moving through the pipes” Adkins explained.

But don’t drip the outside faucets because that could create bigger problems.

“What you would want to do with the outside faucets is if you have a hose connected to it disconnect that, turn it off, put something over the top of it to insulate it. They make those little things; you can get them at the store,” Adkins said.

When it comes to pipes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Adkins said water damage is one of the biggest expenses homeowners incur when pipes burst.

He said if you have sinks on exterior walls, it’s best to keep those cabinets open to keep warm air circulating around the pipes.

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