As freezing temperatures become more regular this winter, the chance of frozen pipes increases. Lower Bucks has already seen snow this season and David Drozd with Pennsylvania American Water is urging people to prepare their pipes now.

Local pipe maintenance services can help with a main break in the street or underground, but homeowners are often responsible for their own plumbing.

“Places susceptible to freezing may include plumbing underneath your sink in the kitchen, plumbing that may run on the outside walls of uninsulated homes, or plumbing in your basement.”

Insulated copper piping.
Insulating a pipe can prevent long term damage.

Wrapping exposed pipes with insulation or heat tracing wire can do wonders to protect them from costly repairs in the future. Homeowners should also know where to find their shut off valve so if a pipe burst does occur, they can turn off the water immediately.

“Although Pennsylvania winters are difficult to predict, we can be sure that cold weather is coming and we need to prepare our homes and protect areas susceptible to freezing,” said Pennsylvania American Water Vice President of Operations Jimmy Sheridan. “Preparing now can save the aggravation and cost of dealing with frozen pipes and the damage they might cause.”

If pipes freeze, turning off heating the air around the pipe is the best way to thaw it out instead of applying heat directly to the frozen section. Space heaters, hot water, or a hair dryer can do wonders to make water flow again.

Some MacGyvers may be tempted to use a kerosene heater or even open flames to thaw out a frozen pipe, but this can be incredibly dangerous. Kerosene used indoors can build up and cause damage to lungs. Open flames are more directly harmful and will often light materials the user did not intend to set aflame.

Once the pipes are no longer frozen, homeowners should slowly turn the water back on. Checking for leaks and breaks throughout will help prevent water damage and flooding.