Fall and winter in New Jersey can get pretty chilly. It’s important to protect your pipes BEFORE the weather gets into the 30s or even 20s.

Just one episode of frozen pipes can wreak havoc on your home. When water freezes, it expands and exerts pressure on your pipes, occasionally causing them to split. A burst pipe can potentially leak several gallons of water per hour, cause thousands of dollars in damage, and may require mold remediation.

PREVENTION

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Here are some preventative measures you can take now to avoid frozen and burst pipes.

  1. Insulate your pipes. Exterior plumbing, and plumbing in garages, attics, and crawl spaces are most at risk as the most exposed to the weather. Insulating your pipes is one of the best things you can do to prevent freezing.
  2. Keep water running. Without water movement to keep pipes warm, they can still freeze and burst, even when insulated. It’s good practice to leave faucets running with a trickle, both hot and cold water, when temperatures are at or below freezing.
  3. Heat limit at 55. Keep your home at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer to protect your pipes. If you’re going to be out of town, keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to let in warmer air around the pipes.

TESTING FOR A PROBLEM

Sometimes pipes freeze despite your best efforts. If you suspect a frozen pipe (e.g. there’s no water coming from the faucet when turned on) do this: 

  1. Keep the faucet open.
  2. Use a hair dryer, hot towels or portable space heater to apply heat to the part of the pipe that you suspect is frozen.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO

If you find a burst pipe…

  1. Shut off the water immediately. Locate the shut-off NOW before any problems arise so you can find it quickly when they do.
  2. Call a professional plumber immediately.
  3. Turn off your heating system and shut off electricity around the flooded area.
  4. Start removing water with buckets, pans, a sump pump or shop vac.
  5. Place fans and dehumidifiers around the home.
  6. Call your insurance company if you think enough damage occurred that will you need to file a claim.