Winter can be a rough month for property owners. There are the little nuisances like shoveling and snow blowing sidewalks. There are bigger issues such as plowing driveways and parking lots. However, one of the biggest concerns with inclement weather and frigid temperatures is frozen pipes. As a result of these conditions, frozen pipes can burst causing water and flood damage to property.
In the following article, we will discuss the causes of frozen pipes, ways to protect pipes from freezing, how to thaw frozen pipes, and what to do if a frozen pipe bursts.
Why Do Pipes Freeze?
The freezing point of water is 32°F. When temperatures drop to/or below this point, any exposed pipes are in danger of freezing. This happens when the water inside those exposed or exterior pipes freezes and expands. This expansion puts tremendous pressure and stress on the pipes which can cause cracks.
When the temperatures rise above freezing, the ice inside the pipes will begin to thaw. If any cracks developed when the pipes were frozen, they will now start to leak water or, if the pipe itself expands with the rising temperature, it can burst and spew water causing significant water and flood damage.
How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing
To help prevent pipes from bursting, the best thing to do is take necessary measures to protect any exposed or exterior pipes from freezing.
The first preventative step is to identify the pipes that are most in danger of freezing and bursting. The most susceptible pipes are:
- Exterior pipes such as outdoor hose faucets and bibs, supply lines for pools and lawn sprinklers
- Interior water pipes in unheated areas of the property such as basements, attics, crawl spaces and garages
- Interior pipes that stretch across exterior walls such as pipes inside kitchen sink cabinets
Once the most vulnerable pipes are identified, the following steps can be taken to help prevent them from freezing:
- Remove, coil and store outdoor hoses
- Turn off valves that supply water to the exterior faucets and bibs
- Drain all supply lines to pools or sprinkler systems
- Thoroughly insulate any unheated areas such as basements, attics, crawl spaces and garages
- Cover exposed water pipes in foam insulation, fiberglass/foil wrap or heat tape
- Install a heat cable across exposed pipes
- Allow water to drip from interior faucets. Moving water takes longer to freeze than stationary water
- Open up kitchen cabinets to let the property’s interior heat warm up the pipes
- Keep garage doors closed during freezing temperatures
How To Thaw Frozen Pipes
If pipes do become frozen, it’s best to thaw them as soon as possible to prevent cracking and bursting.
The following steps should be taken to help pipes that more efficiently and effectively:
- Open any faucets to allow water to flow through as the pipes begin to thaw
- Apply heat to the frozen pipes. For interior pipes, this can be done by placing a portable space heater in the room where the frozen pipes are located. Or a portable hair dryer can be used to help thaw the frozen pipes. Please Note: Do not place the space heater directly in front of the pipes or near flammable liquids or materials. Space heaters should also never be left unattended.
- Wrap bath towels soaked in hot water around the frozen pipe
- Call a professional, certified plumber
What To Do If A Frozen Pipe Bursts
Even if preventive measures are taken, there is still the unfortunate possibility that a pipe will freeze and burst. In the event that this occurs, the following steps should be taken:
Immediately turn off the water supply to the burst pipe
Turn off the electricity in the interior area where the burst pipe is located
Call a professional, certified plumber
Contact the water and flood damage and restoration experts at FloodCo USA
If your property experiences flood or water damage caused by a burst pipe, FloodCo USA is just a phone call away. Our certified water removal and flood damage restoration experts will help dry your home or business and eliminate the need for excessive demolition or major renovations.
FloodCo USA is all about saving and restoring your property from the effects of burst pipes, weather-related flooding, faulty appliances, and other forms of water damage.
Contact us today to learn how we can help save your property from water damage caused by burst pipes.