December through March are the coldest months in Boise. With winter creeping up on us, you best be prepared for what it brings. The frosty grass is a sure sign that the weather will only get colder. One week it’s warm, and the next it’s freezing. Don’t let your pipes fall victim to the icy chill of winter. Frozen and burst pipes cause thousands of dollars in property damage each year.

Worried about frozen pipes? Or have you dealt with it in the past, and want to prevent it from ever happening again? If they’ve become frozen then it’s not too late to save them. We will also go over unthawing your pipes. It’s a common error people make, especially first-time renters and home buyers.

Preventative Measures

Find Your Pipes

The pipes most at risk are the ones that are the most forgettable. They can be found in crawl spaces, attics, garages, and closets. First, locate these pipes, so you can insulate them properly.

Close Your Garage

With how friendly people are in Idaho it’s tempting to keep your garage open. Especially since the crime rate in Idaho is well below the national average. When it’s cold out, keep it closed. Provide every ounce of insulation you can for your pipes.

Maintain a Steady Temperature

Pipes begin to freeze at 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s tempting to leave the heater off while you’re away, but your home should at least maintain a temperature of 55 degrees or higher. If you don’t want to keep the heat running, be sure to have a trusted neighbor check on your property periodically while you’re gone.

Start a Drip

Keep the water moving in your pipes by starting a drip in both your cold and hot taps. All you need is a small drip to keep the water from becoming frozen. You can do this overnight if the sound is too much of an annoyance for you too.

Open Doors

Not your front door. Open your cabinets so the air can circulate in places where the pipes are hidden. This can help prevent a puddle in your kitchen or bathroom.

Ways to Insulate

In our fall plumbing checklist, we go over using heating coils, heating tape, and other ways to insulate your pipes. Buying extra preventative measures is more of a long-term move. If you follow these tips and the checklist your home should be safe this winter.

My Pipes Are Frozen

Be Very Careful

If you notice that the water is not flowing as well as it did before, you could have a frozen pipe. Before you turn the faucet more, proceed with caution, the pipe may burst. If that’s the case then you’ll just send water gushing into your home.

Turn the Faucet

If there are no signs of a burst pipe and the water is flowing, then go ahead and turn on the faucet to help melt the ice. Even if the water is cold, it can still help.

Heat Sections

Heat areas of your pipes using hot towels, space heaters, or heat lamps to thaw the ice. DO NOT use any hazardous heating methods like blowtorches, propane heaters, or a match. These can turn your water problem into a fire problem within seconds.

Call a Plumber

You can’t always locate the frozen area of a pipe. Don’t be afraid to call a plumbing company like Knight Plumbing to help walk you through the process. If the pipes are inaccessible or have burst, then you’ll need expert help.

After Thawing

Sometimes it’s not a frozen pipe that causes you to call a plumber, it’s the aftermath of thawing the pipe improperly or not at all. Frozen pipes can cause leaks and bursts within your home that aren’t noticeable until the water is flowing again. This is because the ice acts as a plug for any cracks or broken seals.

To prevent any mistakes along the way. It is always beneficial to call a plumber before trying to fix it yourself. They can not only help thaw pipes, but they can also spot a leak before it gets worse.