Frozen Pipes: A Problem That Can Be Prevented

Frozen pipes are usually a problem in extremely cold temperatures, and with the widespread subzero weather affecting most of the country right now it's a problem keeping plumbers very busy nationwide.

Fire departments all around have been responding to calls of burst pipes because of the deep freeze, but there are ways to prevent the problem by taking some precautions.

Plumbers recommend wrapping pipes with insulation to keep them from freezing.

One of the most common problems during the winter months is with frozen pipes that are located on walls that are exposed to the elements, such as laundry rooms.

Cher Batchelor of Massachusetts says she had to deal with frozen pipes, and now she tries to keep temperatures in rooms with exposed pipes at 67 degrees.

"I did have a situation. It didn't burst, but last year, I have a laundry room, instead of having my laundry in the basement I wanted it on the first floor. So, the pipe was on the outside wall so that did freeze on me, but a little bit of the blow dryer and it worked," she said on Tuesday.

Plumbers are working overtime for customers with frozen pipes, however firefighters warn against using open flames to solve the problem since it can create a fire.

"Frozen pipes are usually in an area that's confined. The open flame will potentially cause a fire. There's electrical tape available for frozen pipes and heating pads," said Deputy Chief Timothy McQueston of Northampton Massachusetts Fire Department.

McQueston suggests opening cabinets doors in kitchen and bathrooms when possible to allow warmer air around the pipe.

The Chief also says you can prepare your pipes for the freezing weather by looking at them during the summer and fall months and identifying spaces with the potential to freeze in the winter. Insulating those spaces will solve the problem.

An additional tip from McQueston is letting a faucet drip; the trickle should prevent frozen pipes. All of these are good suggestions for those who will be getting hit with that polar vortex in the coming hours.