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I have a frozen pipe problem, What should I do?

Posted on: September 24th, 2013 by admin

Winters are bad enough and with extreme wind chill more than our bones can be rattled adding to unforeseen risks. An unexpected deep freeze or a sudden cold snap can cause pipes to freeze and burst. Risks run high when the temperature drops below freezing point and remains at a constant low for several days. Frozen pipes can cause major home disasters and should be taken care of in time. Most of the time we ignore small issues only to have something as big as frozen pipes burst into our lives and completely disrupt them. This is more common in colder climes but can happen even in the warmer states which see more than mild winters. In most cases some very simple steps can go a long way to prevent this problem.

The problem can occur at both residential and commercial buildings and need appropriate maintenance and regular checks. Water expands as it freezes. When the frozen water or ice cannot expand any longer within the pipe it leads to tremendous pressure and causes the pipes to crack and eventually burst. It doesn’t matter how hardy your pipes are or what material they are made of. Copper, plastic or steel none have the ability to withstand the force of nature if pipes are frozen. When the pipes burst they can spill out over 200 gallons of water in a single day causing irreparable damage inside the home or office, not to mention the scary water bill that will await you at the end of the month.

Pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are those more exposed to the elements like pipes in the outdoor wall, outdoor hose bibs, under a sink on an outside wall, swimming pool supply lines, basement pipes as well as those in unheated crawl spaces, garages, attics and behind kitchen cabinets as well as the water sprinkler lines. Preventive measures should be taken to ensure that pipes don’t give into freezing. If you realize that your pipes have frozen you must take immediate steps to thaw them out. If not taken care of in time, these pipes can do severe damage to home and homeowners.

How to prevent pipes from freezing?

  • Before the winter truly sets in drain water from the water sprinkler supply lines as well as from the swimming pool.
  • Cover the outside faucets. This can be easily done with the faucet insulation kit found in hardware sections of stores.
  • Drain the hoses and store them inside. Close the inside valves which supply water to the outdoor hose bibs which you should also drain out. Keep the outside valve open to let all remnant water drain out.
  • Make sure that the furnace is always on and set above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
  • Check the unheated areas of the house like the basement or the attic and insulate all hot and cold water pipes.
  • If your washer/dryer unit is an unheated portion of the house then turn off the water supply and disconnect the hoses below the temperature drops below freezing point.
  • Keep kitchen cabinets open so that the heat from inside the house can seep into the walls and circulate in the un-insulated pipes. Do the same with the bathroom cabinets.
  • If budget permits then change to insulated pipes for the unheated areas around the house.
  • Safeguard your pipes by installing specific products which help in insulating pipes with pipe sleeves, heat tapes or thermostat-controlled cables, especially for pipes exposed to the elements. In some cases, newspapers can offer some insulation but this is a temporary measure and doesn’t work in extreme cold terrains.

Follow these simple steps and prevent frozen pipes from bursting which may lead to harrowing water bills and expensive repairs.

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