Remember early December of 2013? After days of extremely cold temperatures accompanied by snow, many people in the Willamette Valley discovered that they had not prepared well enough and began to experience the effects of frozen water pipes.
Even a typically mild Oregon winter can include several days of below-freezing temperatures. Fall is a perfect time to winterize your water system, so here are some tips to help prevent frozen pipes when the weather outside is frightful.
Before It Gets Cold
Insulate: Cover any exposed pipes in your home's crawl space, attic and garage. If you have a well, be sure that the cover or pump house is sufficiently insulated.
Seal: Close any openings that could allow cold air to move around water pipes.
Disconnect: Remove all garden hoses from your outdoor hose bibs.
When the Temperature Drops
Trickle: Moving water is more difficult to freeze. Let a small amount of warm water trickle overnight from the faucets.
Heat: Set your thermostat to keep the house warmer on the coldest nights. You'll pay a little more in heating costs, but that will likely be a lot cheaper than fixing broken pipes and damage from water.
Circulate: Open cabinet doors below sinks—especially on outside walls—to let the heated air surround the exposed water pipes.
If you suspect that your water pipes have frozen, open the faucet and call a plumber as soon as possible. Do not attempt to thaw pipes with a torch or open flame.
If a frozen water pipe bursts, shut off the water at the main supply valve, then call a plumber as soon as possible.