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By: Kevin Ahern on January 18th, 2018

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5 Ways You Can Prevent Frozen Pipes in CT

Residential Remodeling

Record-breaking cold weather has gripped Connecticut and the entire east coast. Many homes in our state are in danger of cold weather-related problems like frozen plumbing.

 Pipes that freeze can create a big problem for homeowners. When pipes freeze, all attached faucets stop functioning until the pipes thaw. This is an inconvenience for homeowners, especially in households with only one bathroom. In some cases, frozen pipes in CT can cause a much bigger problem. Occasionally when pipes freeze, the pipes also break or burst open. When the water thaws, flooding and water damage is the result. 

The best way to handle this problem is to prevent your pipes from freezing. Practicing smart prevention techniques can help homeowners avoid expenses from water damage remediation and other related costs. At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners avoid these problems. Through smart home improvements and home renovations, you can keep your home warm and prevent your pipes from freezing.


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Regulate Your Home's Temperature

Many people try to save money on home heating costs by turning off their furnace when they leave for the day, the weekend or longer. This is a dangerous practice during a cold winter when the temperature outside may drop into the negative. If you plan to be gone for a while, set the temperature on your thermostat to 55 or higher. To keep your home running efficiently, program your thermostat to lower your home's temperature when you leave for work, and raise the temperature when you come home. 

Keep Your Faucet At A Drip

Moving water is less likely to freeze than standing water. Allowing your faucets to drip on bitterly cold nights is a good way to keep the water in your pipes moving, which can prevent them from freezing.

Check in with weather forecasts regularly to find out when it's the best time to let your faucets drip. As a rule of thumb, many homeowners set their faucets to drip at night when the temperature outside drops into the 20's or below. Your weather person will be able to tell you when the temperature outside gets dangerously cold. 

Open Cabinet Doors 

Closed cabinet doors can block warm air, which in turn makes pipes in the walls and cabinets extra cold. An easy solution to this problem is to open cabinet and closet doors to encourage air circulation. This is especially important for cabinets and closets located around the perimeter of the home, since the outer walls of the house are typically the coldest. Open your cabinets on nights when the faucets are left dripping. 

Keep Your Garage Door Closed

If you have an attached garage, keep the garage door closed, especially on cold winter nights. This will help protect pipes leading to your garage utility sink and can also help protect pipes that run between the garage and the house.

Properly Insulate Your Home

Insulation helps keep your home warm and comfortable on cold nights. Modern homes that are built to code are usually very well insulated, but older homes often lack proper insulation. Homes that lack proper insulation are usually hard to heat and drafty, with temperatures inside the house fluctuating room by room. If your home has these problems, then you may need more insulation. 

Check for Proper Insulation 

Homeowners can check their walls for proper insulation. To do this, pry off one of the baseboards where the wall meets the floor. Drywall installations typically do not reach the floor, so you should see a gap between the bottom of the drywall and the top of the floor. If your wall is properly insulated, you'll likely see the edges of fiberglass insulation poking out the bottom of the wall. If there is no gap between the wall and the floor, cut a small hole in the wall between two rafters to look for insulation.

While it's important for your primary floors to have insulation, it's also important to insulate the basement and attic. Insulation in the attic helps keep warm air in the living areas of the home, and can also prevent ice dams from forming on the roof. When checking your attic for insulation, look between the floor joists. If the insulation is at or below the level of the joists, then your attic probably needs more insulation.   

If evidence indicates that your home needs more insulation, contact a contractor. Work with a professional to ensure that your home's insulation is up to code and appropriate for your home.

Insulate Your Pipes

Walls aren't the only things that need insulation; pipes can benefit from insulation as well. To install pipe insulation in your home, purchase insulation sleeves of the proper diameter for your pipes. Use a utility knife to cut down the insulation to the proper length, then remove the paper backing to reveal the adhesive. Wrap the sleeve around exposed pipes in your home. If you're not sure which pipes to insulate, look for exposed pipes the basement, behind access panels, under cabinets and in closets.   

What Happens If Your Pipes Freeze?

If your pipes freeze, there are ways to thaw your pipes and restore water flow in your plumbing. Place a bucket beneath the pipe to catch any condensation that may drip off as it thaws. Use a space heater or hair dryer to warm the space slowly. Do not use a blow torch or fire of any kind. Keep electrical appliances away from the pipe and monitor the pipe as it thaws.

If the pipe has burst, turn off the water supply to the pipe until you can get help from a plumber. If you can't find the frozen pipe, contact a trusted professional for help. 

Tell Us Your Story!

Has your plumbing frozen this winter? Did the pipe break? We'd love to hear your stories; leave your comments in the box below. On nights when the temperature drops, allow your faucets to drip slowly. If your home needs more insulation, contact a reputable builder in your area.   

At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners take care of their property and stay warm over the winter. With proper insulation, your home will stay warmer and more comfortable throughout the winter. To avoid frozen pipes in CT, contact us today. Or download our spring remodeling guide for more information about home remodeling and renovation. 

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