With temperatures in Champaign/Urbana getting into the deep digits,  the chance of pipes freezing becomes a very real possibility, and untreated pipes in your basement and crawl-spaces can be an expensive scenario for any homeowner in the event of a burst.  What can you do to limit the chance of this happening to you & your home? Here are several preventative measures you can take:

  • First & foremost, you need to seal any air leaks inside near where the pipes are located in your home! Do a complete inspection around dryer vents, outdoor pipes, and electrical wiring. You'll need to use insulation, caulking, and sealants to ensure you've blocked the airway. Even a small opening can allow enough of this frigid air in to freeze a pipe.
  • Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing so you'll need to check your basement, and crawl-spaces where these pipes are located. Make sure you inspect all pipes to make sure each is properly insulated. Remember....ANY pipe can freeze, so inspect each one.
  • Heat Cables (thermostatically controlled)or Heat Tape can be used to wrap pipes. (Make sure any products used have been approved by Underwriters Laboratories Inc or other independent testing organizations & that you are using the products only where they are intended to be used IE: Inside or Outside, and you follow all installation and operational instructions). Check your local hardware store for supplies. 
  • To reduce freezing in the short span of the pipe, use indoor valves to shut off and drain water from the pipes that lead to outside faucets.
  • Many of us have gotten into the habit of turning down our thermostats at night, however this is NOT the time to do that! During these weather conditions it is very important to keep your thermostats set at the same temperatures both day & night. Because temperatures drop even deeper at night, if you set your thermostats lower at night you can run the risk of those pipes freezing over night.
  • Remember when your Mother told you to "Let the faucet's trickle overnight or if you are going to be gone for a day or two!"? Well, Mom was RIGHT! Trickling of hot and cold water, just letting it drip from the faucet on an outside wall, can keep your pipes from freezing! THANKS MOM!
  • Lastly,  keep the doors to your cabinets (on exterior walls) open, to allow heat to circulate through to the uninsulated pipes. Yes, I know you thought people were joking when they said that, but it is true, it can help keep your pipes from freezing as well.

Now, what can you do if your pipes have frozen?  SCREAM!  Just kidding, this isn't a laughing matter. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, keep the faucets turned OFF and call a plumber immediately.  If your pipes are frozen, please keep these 4 things in mind:

  1. NEVER try to thaw a pipe with a blow torch or any other flame. 
  2. NEVER try to wade through the flooded waters in a basement or touch ANY electrical appliances or items in that area.  They will still be "ACTIVE" if plugged in prior to your basement flooding and would be cause for electrocution.
  3. If your pipes have BURST, Turn your water OFF at the main shut off valve.
  4. If trying to warm a Frozen Pipe, start as close to the faucet as possible then work toward the frozen section.
  5. Before you turn ANY water back on, MAKE SURE THERE AREN'T ANY LEAKS IN THE PIPES!!
  6. Make sure to check your Homeowners Insurance Policy and call them immediately.
I hope you'll just need to use my preventative tips and that our lovely communities around Champaign/Urbana will start to see the beautiful beginnings of spring sooner rather than later! Until then, check out my website and social media for more Homeowner tips!
If you're looking to move to the Champaign/Urbana area, and why wouldn't you Wink, give me a call! I'd love to be your tour guide and show you all the wonderful neighborhoods, schools and other points of interest in the Champaign/Urbana area. You can also sign up for my EXCLUSIVE EMAIL LISTING ALERTS! This allows you to be the first notified of homes that come onto the market that meet your personal preferences.  It's so easy, just follow this link: FREE LISTING ALERTS.