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How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

A friend of mine has some awful water damage last year when we had the severe freezing weather. What can I do to protect myself from freezing pipe?

If you have had the misfortune of cleaning up a smelly, wet very cold mess on a freezing winter day, like many of our residents experienced last year, suffering through a nightmare because of unprotected water pipes in their homes, then our friends at State Farm Prescott, Cathy Trent and staff have some helpful hints for you.

There are ways you can prevent frozen pipes and ice dams with simple solutions to avoiding the hassles and costs of cleaning and repairing your home.

The value of two minutes: Two minutes, that is about as long as it takes to begin a small trickle of water from your home’s hot and cold faucets and to open the doors of cabinets with water pipes running through them. Paying a little more for water usage can certainly be better than broken pipes.

Two weeks. That could be the minimum length of time needed to find an hire contractors to tear out smelly, water-soaked carpet and wallboard, dry the remaining flooring of your home and replace any damaged flooring. An eighth-inch (three millimeter) break in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, wrecking floors, furniture and keepsakes.

As you can see there can be a tremendous advantage to spending a couple of minutes taking simple precautions to prevent frozen pipes. The saying “time well spent” is certainly an understatement when you consider the soggy consequences of doing nothing. Here are a few additional steps to protect your home:

If you have a crawl space, make sure the pipes are insulated, as well as in the attic.

Use heat tape to wrap pipes. Closely follow the manufacturer’s installation and operation instructions.

Seal leaks that allow cold air inside, near where pipes are located.

Disconnect garden hoses and drain/flush yard sprinkler systems.

If you have a fire sprinkler system, inspect the piping to make sure it is insulated.

A more subtle destructive winter wonder is the phenomenon known as ice damming. Snow on the roof can lead to ice dams that damage the roof, gutters, walls, interior ceiling and beyond. What are ice dams? After several days of melting-freezing cycles, it is common for melted water and ice to work up under the shingles until water enters the attic and eventually does damage to the ceilings, walls and interior. There is no way to guarantee an ice dam won’t damage your home, but you can take steps to cut the chances of an ice dam forming in the first place.

Thoroughly clean all leaves, debris from your home’s gutters and downspouts and continually throughout winter, keep gutters and downspouts clear of snow and ice.

Make every effort to keep snow on your roof to a minimum. Keeping heavy snow loads off your roof reduces the chances for both ice dam formation and roof issues.

Evaluate the insulation and ventilation in your attic. Do you know the R-value of your attic insulation? You should. Many of our members will give free estimates for insulation and a review of exposed pipes.

We talked with Eric Kriwer, Prescott Fire Marshal and “last year Prescott Fire ran to over 100 water-line breaks. Many of the calls about broken pipes were in places where the homes heat was not maintained.” It is suggested to keep central heating at 55 degrees or higher to avoid frozen water pipes.

Phone: (928) 778-0040


810 E. Sheldon Street, Prescott, AZ 86301

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