Tips to keep your pipes from bursting in cold weather

Tips to keep your pipes from bursting in cold weather

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Plumbers have been busy responding to homes where pipes burst because of the freezing temperatures, and homeowners are left with a big mess to clean up.

That's just what happened to one unlucky lady in Chesterfield on Friday night. She came home from work to see her entire living room and kitchen flooded with inches of water.

"Took a step inside my front door, and felt a squish," said Martha Freismuth.

Freismuth's brand new wooden floors look much better now than they did just a couple hours ago, after a pipe behind the washer and dryer burst because of the bitter cold air.

"It was just spewing out... it was just spewing," said Freismuth.

She called Anytime Plumbing, which showed up immediately. Owner Illya Davis says cracks in the drywall are letting outside air in.

"It's going right inside of the house," said Davis. "And be able to beat on that pipe until it froze and bursts."

A simple solution: Make sure all openings are sealed, including underneath the sink.

"Stop all of those gaps, all of those air gaps. There's shouldn't be any gaps in here," said Davis.

Insulate your pipes and let the faucet drip, since running water is less likely to freeze.

If you have a crawl space or attic, the vents and doors must be shut. Know where your water valves and circuit breakers are ahead of time.

Always make sure you know where your main water valve is, so you can shut it off in case of an emergency.

If Freismuth had known how to shut her own water off, she could have saved herself 20 minutes of flooding, instead of waiting for crews to get there.

"I was just pushing water out of the front door as quickly as I could," said Freismuth.

Prevention is key when it comes to frozen pipes, but here's some steps from the Red Cross if it's already too late:

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, your pipe is probably frozen. Pipes are more likely to freeze when they're in exterior walls of a home.
  • If you think your pipes are frozen, keep the faucet on. The running water will aid ice melting within the pipe when you begin thawing the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe until pressure is restored - use an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater. You can also wrap pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
  • DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove,or any other open flame.
  • If you cannot locate the frozen pipe or you cannot thaw it, call a plumber.
  • Check all faucets in your home for frozen pipes. If one freezes, others are likely to follow suit.

For more tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing, click here.

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