8 Tips to prevent frozen pipes (and who to call if you don’t).

HomeWorks offers 24/7 water restoration services.

The South Bend area has, admittedly, had a fairly mild winter thus far. All of that is about to (and as of this writing, HAS) change though. Brutal temperatures are here, and the first thing we worry about is busted pipes. A burst pipe is a small thing – but can have major consequences. Time is of the essence, so give us a call at 574.318.WORK immediately. We’re open 24/7/365.

south bend burst pipes

1. Be Prepared

“Preparation is key,” says Adam Brown, President of HomeWorks Construction and Home Maintenance in South Bend, IN. “Cut some blocks out of foam insulation to block off foundation vents leading to crawl spaces and know where your water shutoff is located in case a pipe breaks,” Brown advises. Another item homeowners should have on hand is a temporary patch kit (sold at home centers) to seal off burst pipes as they wait for a water restoration company, like HomeWorks, to come in and repair the damage. “Above all,” Brown says, know ahead of time who your local water restoration company is.

2. Turn Up The Thermostat

If you live in an old house built over an uninsulated crawl space, this isn’t the time to worry about your heating bill. Turning up your thermostat will increase the air temperature in the crawlspace by projecting heat energy through the floor into the space. Plan on insulating and air sealing the space.

3. Install Fiberglass

Take a ride to the nearest home center and pick up a package or two of unfaced fiberglass insulation. While you’re there, get a set of heavy duty disposable coveralls, a dust mask, work gloves and a package of fresh utility knife blades. Don the protective work wear, load the fresh blades in the knife and assess your insulation needs in the attic, crawl space or other out-of-the-way place installing insulation over poorly-protected pipes. This is one scenario where neatness doesn’t count, just get the insulation where it needs to go.

4. Use Foam Board To Insulate Large Areas

Got a really big area to protect? Keep the heat in with a rough-and-ready barrier built with foam board. Faced or unfaced foam board will work, especially if this is a temporary set up. If you’ve never worked with foam board, it’s easy to cut. Mark its surface with a carpenter’s pencil or a Sharpie pen. Score to the depth of a utility knife (if need be, score it from both sides) and snap it on the line. Hold it to wood framing with 1-1/4-in or 1-5/8-in. coarse-thread drywall screws.

5. Install A Heating Cable

Install a heat trace cable to keep a cold pipe from freezing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging for how to do this. Some heat tapes are wrapped around the pipe, others simply run along it. If you can’t find heat trace cable at your local home center, try an electrical supply house. Sometimes this cable is cut to length from a roll, in which case you may have to buy a kit (or separate parts) to convert into a working heat trace cable. In other cases, the cable is sold ready to use, with one end safely terminated and insulated and the other end with an electrical plug.

6. Use A Space Heater

You can keep unprotected pipes above freezing by simply placing an electric heater near them. Remember, the goal is not to make the space toasty warm and comfortable. It’s to keep the water in the pipe above freezing.

7. Turn Off The Water

In the worst case, turn off the main water valve while the house is unoccupied or while you sleep. If a pipe freezes and breaks, the spillage is limited only to the water in the pipe.

8. Open Cabinet Doors

It’s not unusual for plumbing running to a kitchen sink on an exterior wall to be extremely vulnerable because the wall is not insulated. Open the cabinet doors along that wall to project heat into the space. Place an electric heater in front of the cabinets for an extra measure of cold protection.

The above tips can all help to prevent frozen (and subsequently, burst) pipes. If you were caught unprotected, though, nothing replaces a fast, accountable team of water restoration professionals. If you find yourself in need of South Bend water restoration services, give us a call 24 hours a day at: 574.318.WORK and we’ll be out in a flash.

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HomeWorks Construction
1511 N Pulaski St.
South Bend, IN 46613
Phone: 574.318.WORK (9675)