Frozen pipes are a common concern for homeowners during the winter season. Water has a unique property of expanding when it freezes, which places pressure on the container or pipe that holds it. When undrained pipes get frozen due to inclement winter weather, the pressure inside will cause them to break or burst.
The U.S. National Insurance Claim Bureau reports that from 2014 to 2015, most water damage claims occurred during the months of January and February, which are normally the two coldest months of the year.
Burst pipes can cause severe water damage to your home, not to mention potential mold growth if the water is not removed for a time. It is better to know how to keep pipes from freezing to prevent costly losses. Read these tips from ServiceMaster of Savannah.
Signs of a Frozen Pipe
These signs will help you determine if your pipes are freezing.
- Little to no water coming out of the faucet
- Condensation or frost on the pipes
- Strange odors and sounds
- Visible bulges on the pipes
How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing
Install a heating cable.
- To ensure that no water will be frozen inside crawlspace pipes, install electrical heating cables around them.
Add extra insulation.
- Water is more likely to freeze in the unheated areas of the home, such as the basement, garage, or outdoor taps, so it is best to add insulation to the water pipes located in these areas.
- If there are water supply lines in the garage, doors must be kept closed.
Open cabinet doors.
- Opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors will allow warmer air to circulate around uninsulated plumbing, especially if the cabinets are near the home’s exterior walls.
- Secure that harmful chemicals are kept out of children’s reach.
Repair leaks immediately.
- Before it gets colder, any noticeable crack or leaks in the plumbing must be repaired to prevent leaking water from freezing and bursting right at the cracks, which could result in expensive damages.
Turn off appliances.
- Turn off water supply lines and disconnect the hoses from washing machines located in an unheated portion of the home, especially if temperatures are expected to go lower.
- Before traveling away from home during the winter, turn off the main water valve and set the thermostat to a temperature no lower than 55 °F.
- Disconnect outside water hoses to prevent sitting water in them from freezing.
Keep water moving.
- Let a small amount of water trickle from taps and faucets from pipes that are likely to freeze when temperatures get very cold. This helps warm air to circulate and prevents pipes from freezing.
Set the thermostat at the same temperature for both day and night to prevent a costly repair job if pipes freeze or burst.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
When a frozen pipe is detected, turn off the water supply and perform the following:
- Warm the pipe by wrapping it with an electric heating pad or towels soaked in hot water, or by utilizing a portable space heater or a hairdryer.
- Do not use any open flames. Apply heat until normal water pressure returns.
- If nothing happens, call a licensed plumber.
Inspect exposed pipes for leaks.
- After thawing frozen pipes, check for leaks or damp patches on ceilings, walls, and floors. There still might be a huge amount of pressure left in the pipes after thawing, and it can cause leaks or bursts.
- If significant damages are noticed, the pipes may have to be completely replaced.
Use a hose.
- For a large pipe, a garden hose may be run through it; push the hose through until the frozen area is reached.
- Run hot water through the hose until the ice melts. Be careful with this process since overfilling the hose can cause hot water to back up on your end.
Water Damage from Burst Pipes? Call Us Today
Our technicians are licensed and fully bonded and have the training, certification, and experience to perform the job quickly while following industry standards and procedures. Call ServiceMaster of Savannah or connect with us online to schedule an appointment.