When it comes to keeping your home in tip-top shape throughout the colder months of the year, it is important to make sure your pipes don’t freeze. Allowing a faucet to drip slightly with lukewarm water, disconnecting all gardening hoses and insulating outside walls and unheated areas of your home are all things that help to keep pipes from freezing.

In the event that your pipes do freeze, there are several steps you can follow to minimize any damage.

  1. Shut Off the Main Water Valve and Open Faucets

You’ll want to make sure that you shut off the water main leading into your home as well as open any faucets that are connected to the pipe; this will help reduce pressure on the pipes and reduce flooding if the pipes were to burst.

  1. Heat the Pipes to Thaw Them Out

If you a pipe was to freeze and it is exposed and visible, you can use a blow dryer or space heater to thaw the blockage. Do keep in mind, though, that you don’t want to use an open flame to heat the pipes. Also, when using a space heater, make sure to keep it far enough away from the walls and any flammable materials.

  1. Check for Leaks

Even if you have already turned the water main off, there will be enough pressure to reveal any leaks once the pipes have thawed. When fixing leaks or replacing any busted pipes, make sure to contact a highly-qualified plumber to perform the involved tasks. Also, keep in mind that even if there are no leaks or busted pipes, a plumber should still be contacted to check the pipes that were frozen. In some cases, if a pipe has stretched because of frozen water in it, it will need to be replaced.

The first sign of a pipe freezing is reduced water flow from a faucet. Make sure to monitor your pipes during the winter, especially during periods of extremely cold weather. When in doubt, a qualified plumber will be able to evaluate whether your pipes are frozen or are in danger of freezing. They will also be able to give other recommendations for keeping pipes unfrozen during the winter months.