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How to prevent your pipes from freezing, even if you think they’ve already started to freeze.

How to prevent your pipes from freezing, even if you think they’ve already started to freeze.

Nothing can spoil a North Fork vacation like frozen pipes - for you or for your vacation rental. Winterizing your pipes is key to managing your North Fork property. Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.

Here are some easy techniques to save your pipes from bursting.

1. Turn On Your Faucets - If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.

2. Open Cabinet Doors - During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathrooms throughout your vacation home. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.

3. Wrap Your Pipes - If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.

4. Pull Out Your Hairdryer - A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.

5. Frozen Pipes? Shut Off The Water - Have the pipes in your vacation home already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!) Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your vacation home.

Of course, you’re not always going to be in your North Fork vacation home when the weather turns, and worrying about your pipes when you’re away can be stressful! That’s where PMI Eastern Long Island comes in. We can check in on your second home when you’re not there, and give you peace of mind no matter what the weather is. Contact us today to learn more!