Frozen water pipes can really do a number on your Suffolk County home, causing plumbing problems that can lead to structural damage or even mold growth. They’re a particular problem in older, under-insulated homes – something we see a lot of in our neck of the woods. The good news is that most frozen pipe problems are preventable with awareness and some simple precautions. Here are some tips to prevent and deal with frozen pipe problems in your Long Island home. Before a sub-freezing night
Identify at-risk pipes (those in your un-insulated garage, crawl space, basement, etc.) and insulate them with pipe sleeves and insulating tape.
Seal air leaks near pipes, around your dryer vents, and in other areas exposed to outside air.
Shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.
On sub-freezing nights
Run a trickle of warm water overnight from your faucets.
Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks.
If you own an empty seasonal home or are planning a winter vacation
DO NOT shut your heat off; turn it down to a minimum of 55°F.
Ask a neighbor to check your home if temperatures drop significantly.
Follow all directions for “before a cold snap” above.
If your pipes freeze
Try to find the blockage – In some cases, several areas may have frozen, but it’s unlikely that the entire length of the pipe will have gotten cold enough to freeze.
Open the faucet near that area. This will allow warmer water to pass through the partial blockage, helping it melt. It will also relieve pressure within the pipe, reducing the likelihood of a breakage.
You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer; start by warming the pipe close to the faucet, working toward the coldest section of pipe. If that doesn’t provide relief, call a plumber.
Be sensible! Never operate an electrical appliance in standing water, and never use an open flame to thaw pipes.
If your water pipes have burst
Turn off water at the main shutoff valve in the house; teach everyone in your family where the water shutoff valve is and how to close it.