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How Can You Prevent Frozen Pipes in Winter?

Frozen pipes are a disaster for any home. No matter how big and fancy your home is, if your pipes freeze, there’s a high chance they’ll burst and end up flooding your house. So, how can you prevent frozen pipes in winter? There are lots of creative solutions that we’re happy to share with you.

Leave Bathroom Doors Open

The first thing you should do when winter approaches is keep your bathroom doors open – unless you’re using them of course. When the bathroom isn’t in use, keeping the doors open allows air flow. This isn’t strictly necessary if your bathroom has its own forced-air vent. However, it doesn’t hurt. If your bathroom doesn’t have its own forced-air vent or radiator, it can become much colder than the rest of the house if the doors are left shut. Allowing warm air to flow into the bathroom will ensure the pipes beneath the sink don’t freeze.

Leave Sink Cupboards Open

For the same reason, sink cupboards should be left open. This applies to anywhere with a sink above a cabinet. The bathroom sink, kitchen sink, and even a laundry room sink should have their cabinet doors left open. If there’s no other insulation keeping your pipes from freezing, allowing warm air into the cabinets may help.

Let the Sink Drip

While it may not be necessary if you’re still at home, when on vacation, leave the sinks to drip. Turning on each hot and cold tap in the house, just enough to allow it to drip, will aid in preventing pipe bursts. The water continues to move around, lowering the likelihood of freezing. Plus, the dripping helps to relieve pressure in the pipes. 

Keep Heat On

If you’re going somewhere else for vacation, don’t turn your heat off. This is important no matter what time of year you’re leaving. Always keep your heat set to at least 50 Fahrenheit when you’re traveling. Doing this keeps your home’s pipes warm enough to prevent freezing. Even during the fall or spring, if you leave with your heat off, a sudden drop in temperature could have you returning to a flooded house. A small amount of heating will cost a lot less than flood repairs.

Blanket Insulation

If your pipes are getting too cold, even with maximum airflow and keeping the heat on, it might be time to insulate your pipes. If you don’t have money to buy insulation, wrapping blankets or towels around your pipes is the way to go. It isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing. A nice, thick barrier between your pipe and the cold air may be just the trick. This applies to sink pipes under cabinets as well as pipes in the garage that may lead outdoors, such as to a spigot.

Styrofoam Insulation

If you do have the money for some dedicated insulation, buying styrofoam insulation for your pipes is easy. Check with your local hardware store and you’ll find there are dedicated styrofoam forms meant to fit over your exposed pipes. If there are long stretches of exposed pipe – perhaps in the garage – you might want to get some expanding spray foam insulation instead. This will last longer and be more effective than a styrofoam form.

If it’s too late and your pipes have burst, once the initial disaster is cleaned up, we’re more than happy to come out and fix your pipes. That’s what we’re here for! Give us a call at POM Plumbing if you need assistance with pipe repair in your home.

Finding the Source of a Kitchen Water Leak

Have you suddenly stumbled across a pool of water in your kitchen? You’re not the only one scrambling to Google to find out why, and what to do about it. That’s why our team at POM Plumbing has put together a short list of causes to help you sniff out the source of your kitchen water leak.

Sink

The first place to check is the sink. The faucet is the easiest to rule out. If there’s a mystery puddle on the kitchen floor, unless your sink is backed up and overflowing, the faucet couldn’t have caused it. However, the drain and water line are both suspect. Open the cabinet beneath your kitchen sink. If all seems dry beneath it, you can move on to the next appliance. However, if there’s water pooled inside the cabinet and spilling out of it, it’s time to look further. 

If the water pooling is substantial, it’s most likely the water line, since it would take a steady stream of water coming in for anything more than a puddle. If the water line is broken or leaking, you need to turn off the water to the sink. There should be a knob on the wall at the back of the cabinet. Turn it as far to the right as you can. If the water doesn’t stop leaking after ten seconds, you’ll need to turn off the water main, which is likely located in the garage.

If the water line doesn’t seem to be the problem, and you can see a leak coming from your drain pipe, put a bucket or towel under it and give us a call. No matter which sink issue is leading to a leak, we’re here to help.

Fridge

The first thing to know is whether your fridge has a water or ice dispenser. If it doesn’t, and the puddle is slightly sticky, it’s probably coolant leaking from the fridge. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy a new one. Freon leaks can be dangerous, especially since it’s in the vicinity of your food.

If your fridge does have a dispenser and the liquid is almost certainly water, the next thing to rule out is the ice dispenser. Ice dispensers sometimes get ice stuck in the little trap door that opens to dispense the ice. After a short while, it will melt enough to slip out of the trap and then melt on the floor. This doesn’t happen infrequently, so you should be used to it unless you’re new to having a dispenser fridge. Check if there are ice chunks sitting in the puddle, or if the puddle comes out from under the appliance. If the water seems to be coming from beneath the fridge, you’ll need to call a fridge repairman or consider replacement if the issue continues.

Dishwasher

If neither the fridge nor sink seem to be the obvious source of the water, it’s most likely from the dishwasher. Dishwashers leak water more often than either of the other appliances by nature of how much water runs through it regularly. If your dishwasher seems to be the culprit, check out this guide on figuring out the cause of the leak.

Hire a Professional

If you need help fixing a water line, drain, sink, or other piece of plumbing, we’re here to help. No one should be without help when dealing with a kitchen water leak. Give us a call if you have questions about our services and procedures. We look forward to working with you.