The Big Freeze of 2018 will likely be a big topic of conversation for a while. We in the D.C. area are more familiar with low temperatures than our friends in the southern states. It’s a good reminder, however, that freezing weather is hard on our homes, especially on our plumbing.

Everyone should take certain precautions to prevent their water pipes from freezing when the temperature dips near the single digits. A few steps taken now can save you large headaches down the road.

First of all, you need to be sure the valves to your outside faucets are turned off, the hoses and sprinklers disconnected, and the faucets drained. If you have a swimming pool, it and its supply lines should be drained also. CAUTION: Do NOT put antifreeze in these lines unless specifically directed, as it is harmful to humans, animals, and vegetation.

Find the water pipes that are near the outside walls, and check them for insulation. Installing insulating sleeves or some other insulation can help keep the pipes from freezing in the coldest temperatures. Insulating your attic and crawl spaces can help, too. If there are pipes that run in or near the garage, keep your garage door shut when you aren’t going in or out. If you’re planning any future renovations, you might consider including a plan to move the pipes to warmer areas in the house.

When the temperature starts dropping to single digits, you should open the doors of cabinets that enclose your pipes, so the warmer air of the house can reach them. You may also want to have the faucet drip so that the water in them is moving. Even a trickle can prevent freezing.

What if it’s too late? What if your pipes are already frozen? You came down in the morning to make coffee, and when you turned on the faucet, nothing, or only a trickle emerged. That means you need to try to find the place where it is likely frozen.

Keep the faucet turned on while you work. The best way to thaw a faucet is with heat. (No surprise there, right?) Use a safe source of heat, not an open flame. Heating pads, blow dryers, or even an electric blanket can be put to good use in this situation. Apply the heat until full flow of water has been restored at the faucet. If you can’t get it flowing, you may need to call a professional plumber.

We all need help sometimes. If you have any real estate needs, the Casey O’Neal Team can help you. Give us a call!