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How to Prevent Frozen Pipes in Minnesota

frozen pipes twin cities

Imagine waking up one winter morning, turning on the hot water faucet and… no water comes out.

Not only can frozen pipes be a big inconvenience, but they can also prove to be disastrous if they burst, causing major indoor flooding.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • How to prevent frozen pipes
  • What to do if your pipes are already frozen

Need a Minnesota plumber to unfreeze your pipes? Let us help!

Schedule an appointment today

How to prevent frozen pipes

We’ve compiled some tips to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter:

Keep garage doors closed when not in use

Walls inside the garage are not always insulated as well as outside walls of your home. Cold outdoor air can freeze exposed pipes in garage walls, which is why we recommend keeping the garage door closed as much as possible.

Drain water from outside faucets

Shut off the water to outside hose faucets and then open the valves to let all the water out. (If you’re not sure how to do this, a plumber can help.) Then, drain and store your hoses.

Hire a plumber to winterize your pipes

Not sure how to prepare your pipes for winter? A plumber can help you properly winterize your outdoor faucets and insulate any pipes in exposed or extra-cold areas.

Going out of town for the holidays? Follow these tips

If you’re going out of town, you’ll also want to follow these tips to avoid frozen pipes:

  • Let your indoor faucets drip a little. They don’t need to run at full-blast, just enough to have a steady trickle. Since flowing water freezes slower than standing water in a pipe, this will prevent your pipes from freezing.

  • Don’t turn your heat down. If you leave your home for a holiday vacation, you might consider turning down your heat while you're gone. We recommend setting your thermostat no lower than 55° F during the winter while you’re away from your house. Why? If your house gets too cold, the pipes could start to freeze. In the end, frozen pipes are going to cost you a lot more than paying a little upfront to keep your house at 55° or warmer.

  • Leave cabinet doors under sinks open. Because the cabinet doors can block out the heat from your home, we recommend keeping them open if you’re traveling out of town. This will expose the pipes under the sink to the warm air from your home, which will prevent them from freezing.

What to do if your pipes are already frozen

Already have frozen pipes? Do these 3 things:

  1. Put a space heater next to under-sink pipes. Open the cabinet where the frozen pipe is located and put a space heater by it to thaw it. Leave the faucet on so the water can flow when the pipe starts unfreezing.
  2. Heat up the room where the frozen pipe is. While this is not a guarantee and may take a long time, using a space heater to heat up the room could eventually heat up the pipe.
  3. Call a plumber. Plumbers carry equipment that will electrically charge the pipe to warm it up and thaw the frozen section. Since there’s a risk of possible damage to your pipe, it’s best to let a professional handle this job.

    Note: If your pipes have already burst, turn off the water supply via the water main valve and contact a professional plumber immediately for help.

If you have frozen pipes, do not...

  1. Ignore the problem: If you know or suspect you have a frozen pipe, don’t ignore it. If you ignore the problem, the pipe could eventually burst, or it will stay frozen until the outdoor temperature warms well above freezing. It’s better to get help sooner rather than later, so contact a professional as soon as you notice a frozen pipe.
  2. Use a blowtorch: Besides being a fire hazard, using a blowtorch can cause the water to heat up too fast in the pipe and cause it to expand, which can cause the pipe to rupture.

Need a Minnesota plumber to unfreeze your pipes? Let us help!

Schedule an appointment today

To learn more about what to expect when you hire us, visit our frozen pipe repair page.