Preventing Frozen, Burst Pipes in Subzero Temperatures

Updated: 12/11/2013 6:13 PM By: Kate Renner

These bitter cold days could end up costing you big bucks in home repairs if your pipes freeze or even worse, burst.

If you're going on vacation or heading out of town for the holidays, it's recommended that you don't leave your home unattended for even a couple of days in these subzero temperatures without taking some precautionary measures.

1. Turn off any valves for pipes that lead to the outdoors.

2. If you don't want to risk any water freezing in your pipes, turn off the water source to all the pipes in your house.

3. Pipes freeze when they're not insulated enough. You can get a Styrofoam pipe cover to snap on to any pipes that run through exposed walls. You can snake it up in tight spaces that are hard to reach.

Hardware Hank in Maple Grove sells tools to alert yourself or a neighbor if your furnace or power goes out.

One is called a "freeze alarm" and you plug it into your land line.  It will automatically call you if the temperature in the house drops below 45 degrees.

A "Winter Watchman" can be plugged into a lamp and a light turns on that will let your neighbors know the heat has gone out in your house, before the ice does too much damage.

Pipes in concrete walls, crawl spaces, or anything exposed to the outside elements are more likely to freeze over.

Another area that is susceptible to freezing pipes is under your kitchen sink. A good way to keep them from freezing, is to open up your cabinet doors to let the warm air in.

If your pipes freeze, you can thaw them out by taking a space heater or blow dryer and blowing warm air at the frozen area. It could take a couple hours, but that should thaw out the frozen pipe.

You should calling a plumber in an emergency, like if your pipes burst. It could set you back roughly $3,000, and that's not including the damage water can do to your house.

According to Chris Crowe with LeVahn Brothers Plumbing, there are situations where people end up with $50-60,000 dollars in damage to their house just from burst lines.