How to prevent and deal with frozen pipes

Never use an open flame device to thaw frozen pipes

(WWLP) – We’re expecting extremely cold temperatures to close out 2017, and with that comes the risk for frozen pipes.

After record cold morning, dangerous wind chills arrive tonight

Preventing frozen pipes

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey suggests the following tips to prevent pipes from freezing in your home or business:

  • When it is really cold outside, let the water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. If you do this, remember to remove any cleaners/chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
  • Keep thermostat set at same temperature during day and night.
  • Always keep temperature in house or business higher than 55 degrees.

Thawing frozen pipes

In the event your pipes freeze, the state fire marshal said it’s important to thaw them properly or you could start a fire.

If you turn on the faucet and only a trickle comes out, Ostroskey said to suspect a frozen pipe. Pipes that are most likely to freeze are located against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

The fire marshal suggests the following tips to thaw your pipes properly:

  • Keep the faucet open so that as the frozen pipe begins to melt, water can flow through and help with the melting.
  • Apply heat to the frozen area using an electric heating pad, an electric hair dryer or by wrapping towels soaked in hot water around the pipe.
  • Continue applying heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other open flame device.
  • DO NOT overload circuits and try to avoid using space heaters to defrost frozen pipes.
  • DO NOT leave the door of a gas oven open.