All of us at ServiceMaster By Rice hope you had a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! It’s been a strange start to winter as far as the weather goes. Apart from some initial snow at the end of November throughout some of Iowa and Minnesota, we really have had much for rough weather. Unfortunately, this trend is not going to last long, and temperatures will eventually fall over the next couple of weeks as winter truly settles in. One of the biggest disasters that happens to homeowners and business owners in Iowa is when pipes break, causing severe water damage to buildings. Anyone who has experienced broken pipes knows how devastating it can be in the winter. To avoid having your home or business affected by broken pipes this winter, ServiceMaster by Rice has some tips to help you stay on top.

Ways To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

No two homes or buildings are the same, and each one comes with its own list of potential problems that could cause pipes within or underneath the house to burst. These are some of the ways you can lower the risk and keep your home safe.

Set Your Furnace Correctly

This is especially important when you and your family are gone on vacation. Whether you are home or away, your thermostat should never be set below 55 degrees. Make sure that your thermostat’s battery is functioning properly before leaving so that your unit doesn’t turn off while you are away.

Insulate Pipes

Pipes within your home’s crawl space and attic are highly susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures. Insulating your pipes will provide more reassurance that your more exposed pipes will not freeze during the winter.

Open Cabinet Doors

Opening up the cabinet and cupboard doors in your home will allow pipes near your exterior walls to gather heat. They don’t need to stay open by any means but allowing them to get some heat can provide more peace of mind that they are not freezing.

Turn Off External Water Lines

If you have a pool or sprinkler system installed in your yard that has underground lines, it’s important that those are drained and turned off by the start of the winter season. This also goes for any garden hoses that might be attached to the side of your house.

Avoid Using Antifreeze on Pipes

Some homeowners consider putting antifreeze on their external pipes to avoid them from freezing. Unless explicitly stated by the manufacturer of the product, this should be avoided at all costs. Antifreeze is harmful to the environment and is dangerous to both humans and pets that come in contact with it.

What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze

If your pipes have frozen, the first step is to remain calm. Just because they are frozen, it doesn’t mean they have burst yet. If you see leaking water from a burst pipe, there are different steps to take.

Non-Broken Pipes

If you turn on your faucet and it doesn’t move water or only slowly drips it out, find a way to put heat on your pipes. Using something like a space heater, heating pad, hairdryer, or even a standard blanket can help restore heat to your pipes. However, it is imperative that you do not use something with an open flame, such as a blowtorch, lighter, or propane heater. That significantly raises your odds of fire damage or a house fire to your place of residency!

Broken Pipes

If your pipes have burst, the first thing you will want to do is turn off your water. The sooner you do it, the less water damage that can occur. Make sure everyone in your residence knows where the water shutoff valve is. The next thing you will want to do is call the ServiceMaster By Rice location closest to you to come help with any sort of clean up needed. If there is standing water throughout your home, avoid touching it, as you could get shocked by electricity within the water from appliances.

Iowa and Southern Minnesota Water Damage Repair Experts

We hope that you never have to deal with pipe breaks in your home or business. In the event that you do, ServiceMaster By Rice is the place with trusted experts to get the job done in a timely manner. Our technicians are all IICRC certified with service areas all throughout Iowa and Southern Minnesota. Stay safe this winter and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need emergency service!