How You Can Prevent Frozen Pipes

During the cold Illinois winters, frozen pipes are a common problem that homeowners have to deal with. During a hard freeze or cold snap, any water that’s been sitting in your pipes can easily freeze into solid ice. This can inflict over two thousand pounds of pressure onto the pipes, often causing them to burst. Damage from frozen pipes can cost thousands of dollars to fix, making burst pipes an incredibly expensive household disaster. The pipes at the most risk of freezing are located in places like up against exterior walls, inside your garage, and in unheated crawlspaces. Fortunately, you can prevent costly damage by following these helpful tips for preventing frozen pipes in your home.

Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

These simple steps will help you to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Keep your garage doors closed during the winter. Water pipes in your garage are quite prone to freezing and potentially bursting. By keeping the garage door closed, you’ll keep the interior warmer and help to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Let cold water drip continually from your household faucets. This constant flow of water will generate friction and heat. Water that’s in motion will be less likely to freeze solid.
  • Keep your furnace or heater running at night. Many homeowners try to save money by turning the heat down at night. However, by making sure that your home stays at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times during the winter, you’ll avoid frozen pipes. The money you’ll spend on heating your home is worth it, compared to the huge expense of fixing burst pipes.
  • Keep the heat on when you’re not at home. Again, running your heater or furnace to prevent frozen pipes is well worth the expense, compared to the thousands of dollars of damage that frozen pipes can cause.
  • Drain water out of your sprinklers and swimming pools. Protect both from damage by making sure that neither is filled with water when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Bring hoses inside, and cover your outdoor faucet bibs.

Is it Safe to Use Antifreeze for Frozen Pipes?

You'll find a lot of information on the internet about using antifreeze as a method to restore frozen pipes. However, you should never try to use automotive antifreeze to prevent freezing in your plumbing. It’s toxic and is also an environmental pollutant that is not safe for home plumbing and sewage systems.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If a pipe in your home has already frozen but has not yet burst, you may still be able to thaw the water and avoid any permanent damage. If only a tiny trickle of water comes out of the faucet when you turn it on, then chances are, the water inside is frozen. Here are some steps you can try to get the ice to melt.

  • Keep your faucet open and uncovered.
  • Apply heat directly to the pipe. You can use electric heating pads or towels soaked in hot water, applied directly to the outsides of the pipes. Space heaters and hair dryers can also be used to blow hot air onto them, although under no circumstances should you try to use an open flame.
  • Keep applying heat until full water pressure has been restored.

If one pipe has filled up with ice, be sure to check your other household faucets to make sure no other pipes have frozen. Thawing the ice right away can help you prevent damage to the pipes. Also, remember that if you can’t get the ice to melt, or cannot access the pipes, then you may need to call your trusted plumbers to help you take care of the problem.


If you have issues with frozen or burst pipes this winter, don't panic. Immediately call Morrison Plumbing, Heating and Air at (618) 352-5599 to request service. We're available 24/7 to respond to emergencies!


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