How to Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

columbia plumber, columbia air conditioner, columbia hvac, how to avoid frozen pipes this winter

Ten thousand dollars. That’s the average insurance claim related to “water damage and freezing,” according to the Insurance Information Institute. Each year, one in 50 homeowners will file such a claim—and we’re guessing that you, like all Columbia plumbing customers, would rather not be that “lucky” one. In fact, you’d rather not endure the hassle of any sort of insurance claim, let alone one that involves the word water.

Of course, when it comes to preventing busted water pipes (or burst water pipes, for you card-carrying members of the Grammar Police Association), it’s not just about the headache: the paperwork and clean-up and deductible (ouch). It’s about heartache, too. Imagine a ruined wedding photo album. A hopelessly warped antique dining hutch that you’d been saving for your grandkids. A water-soaked, and then mildewed, favorite chair—like that ghastly (but remarkably comfy) mustard-yellow, spinner-rocker-recliner you’ve had since your college days.

All joking aside: Frozen pipes can obviously cause horrific damage to both your home and your belongings.

How Frozen Pipes Burst

Let’s head back to elementary school science class for just a sec. When water freezes, it expands. (Apparently water is a unique liquid in this regard!) If there’s enough water in a particular pipe, and/or if said pipe has a defect, the expanding liquid-now-solid creates sufficient pressure to rupture the pipe. A crack as small as ⅛” can release 250 gallons of water per day—so don’t assume your pipe has to burst in a dramatic or even obvious fashion to do massive damage. Fortunately, burst pipes are usually a preventable problem.

Tips for Avoiding Frozen Water Pipes

  1. Insulate exposed pipes. If you have plumbing pipes and fixtures in unheated areas of your home, such as your garage, basement, attic, or crawlspace, it’s wise to insulate them. Home improvement stores carry affordable insulation kits.
  2. Keep your garage door closed. If your garage is unheated and you happen to have plumbing pipes running through that area, you’ll need to keep it as warm as possible.
  3. Drain your garden hoses and hose bibbs. Disconnecting and draining your garden hoses will extend the life of the hoses themselves and will prevent your outside faucets (also called hose bibbs) from freezing. To make absolutely certain the bibbs don’t freeze—along with the pipes they’re connected to—turn off the inside water supply line, and then open the bibbs to allow excess water to drain out. (Don’t forget to close them before turning the main water back on.) If your home doesn’t have frost-free hose bibbs, consider insulating them or swapping them out before the temps really drop.
  4. If you’re heading out for vacation, turn off your water. If you plan to be away for a few days, go ahead and turn off your water. Then, drain the pipes by turning on a few faucets. Again, make sure you turn the taps off again before you turn your main water valve back on.
  5. Allow your faucets to drip. Allowing a trickle of water to run through the faucets relieves pressure if standing water in your pipes happens to freeze. This is particularly important in extremely cold temperatures and/or if you live in a mobile home. Note: Don’t let faucets on exterior walls trickle. If the temp drops far enough, the water in the drain could freeze, which could overflow your sink.
  6. Open vanity cabinets. If your bathrooms are particularly chilly, leave your vanity cabinet doors open so warm air from the room can circulate around the pipes. You can also point a portable heater inside the cabinet. Same with the cabinet under your kitchen sink.
  7. Check for drafts. Feel for drafts near places where pipes, cables, and wires enter your home. If you feel cold air surrounding any uninsulated pipe, use expandable foam to seal off the drafts.
  8. Inspect your pipes. If you have any exposed pipes, look for bulges. If you find any, that means water has frozen in that spot in the past, and you’re lucky you didn’t have a disaster at that point! Any weakness in your pipes should be addressed by a professional Columbia plumber right away.
  9. Don’t turn off your furnace. If you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time, it’s fine to turn your heat down to save money on your utility bill—but don’t turn off your furnace entirely.

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

If you suspect one of your pipes has frozen, turn off your main water valve (just in case there’s already a rupture), leave the taps open, and call us for help. There are several methods to warming a frozen pipe, and we’d love to make sure you’re using the safest, most-effective option. If you insist on trying to handle the situation yourself, never ever use an open flame, and don’t use an electric appliance such as a hair dryer or space heater in standing water.

We had a great experience with Mastertech Plumbing from the time we made the phone call to request service. Our plumber Tyson was friendly, knowledgeable & professional. I would highly recommend this company & him for any plumbing needs.
Jamie Hogan
Jamie Hogan
17:40 22 May 20
I had a clogged drain that needed professional assistance. MasterTech was able to get Devin out to my house to fix our issue in record time. Devin was great and very professional and made sure the issue was fixed, the work area was clean and that I was satisfied with his work before he left. I highly recommend MasterTech.
Jeffery James
Jeffery James
17:01 08 May 20
When I called, the phone was answered by a pleasant service representative that remembered me and was understanding to my immediate need. MasterTech Plumbing tech Chad was very professional and friendly. He kept me informed of all what was wrong and didn’t try to up sell anything. I really appreciate Chad’s skillful knowledge. The quality of his work is exceptional. I know I can rely on Chad and MasterTech Plumbing.
Angela Hernandez
Angela Hernandez
02:12 08 Apr 20
The service we received today was awesome! Punctual, efficient, and up front and honest about prices and what products that we needed. Excellent work.
Cole Stoecklein
Cole Stoecklein
14:52 18 Mar 20
Josh is great! He is the one who usually comes to our house. He installed an overhead tank toilet, which is a tricky and time-consuming job. He overcame many obstacles and stuck with it until the job was completed and done right. Price was also good. MasterTech has always taken care of all our needs in a prompt and professional manner. Emergency service has always been rapid too.
Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
17:24 11 Mar 20
Chris was great. Dispatch was great. We were scheduled quickly. Prices were very competitive. Edit: We had great success having our pipes fixed. Due to Missouri weather things were touch and go but Master Tech sure delivered! We are so please with the fix, financing and friendliness Master tech and our technician Chris Gilpin provided us. Will forever and always us Master tech. Certainly mighty nice people
Kimberly Threatt
Kimberly Threatt
01:30 29 Feb 20
We had to have emergency service today, Saturday. A serviceman was here in less than an hour. The repairs were made quickly, the charge was not over the top, even though it was not a work day, and the individual was friendly and courteous. We have learned to expect this kind of service from Master Tech. Thank you.
Barbara Timbrook
Barbara Timbrook
03:48 26 Jan 20
I recommend MasterTech. They show up when they tell you they will show up. They provide a comprehensive estimate and also a good explanation of the work that need to be done. Their work is good quality. They usually have the needed parts on their truck so they can do the task in a timely manner. They clean up the work area after the job is finished,
Dennis Catlett
Dennis Catlett
22:15 23 Jan 20
A great experience. First, on time, service tech was sent out when promised. Second, quick assessment of the problem (faulty sump pump). The tech not only quickly replaced the pump, but he made an alteration that will make it easier whenever a replacement has to be made. Bottom line, a most professional service. Certainly would recommend Master Tech to folks needing their service.
W B Tichenor
W B Tichenor
16:08 31 Dec 19
MasterTech is so great to work with. They're quick, clean, do great work, and have fair pricing. But the best thing about MasterTech is their people. Whoever is responsible for their human resources does a terrific job of selecting and/or training them. They're so friendly and provide excellent information and customer service. I highly recommend MasterTech!
Jason Black
Jason Black
20:37 26 Dec 19
Previously I had not been impressed with master tech. However, their technician Dillon not only fixed my emergency pipe break at 1am on a holiday but also saved me as a customer. This was the best service I have ever had at my home. He arrived promptly at 1am. Provided a couple of options on how to fix my problem both in the short and long term and quickly made repairs. He also has provided advice on how to address issues related to the water damage caused by the busted pipe. This was one of the most positive bad situation we have had as homeowners. Thank you Dillon and mastertech.
Michael Grote
Michael Grote
20:35 26 Dec 19
I had to change my appointment at the last minute and they were able to accommodate my new availability without any hesitation. My tech was really professional (Dillion). I got a call and a text to let me know he was on the way. He fixed my problem quickly and was so friendly. This is the second time that I have had to use a plumber and I will use Master Tech again since I have an old house with old plumbing.
Leigh Burton
Leigh Burton
14:01 22 Nov 19
HVAC and plumbing under one roof, what else do you need?! Great team!
CJ Roe
CJ Roe
01:06 30 May 18

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top