Brrr! The winter months are moving in full force and it’s time to prepare your home to freeze (and in some cases below freezing) weather conditions. The most important task to add to your to-do list this winter is checking the condition of your pipes.
If you are poorly insulated or exposed to the cold winter weather, your pipes can be frozen and, if left untreated, burst, causing you more damage than you want to pay for during the holiday season.
Get a step ahead of freezing weather conditions by properly insulating your pipes and preparing them for the winter season. Use our tips below as a reference. But first, let’s learn what happens to pipes when they freeze and how to deal with a frozen or burst pipe in your home.
What if your pipes freeze?
When the water in poorly insulated pipes is exposed to freezing weather conditions (32 degrees Fahrenheit and below), the water freezes and expands, causing pressure to build up in what it contains. Even the strongest materials such as metal pipes can kink, break and burst at the joints or tear under extreme pressure.
This poses a problem as pipes exposed to extreme cold (such as outdoor hoses, swimming pool utilities, and sprinkler systems) or unheated areas with poor insulation in your home (such as basements, garages, or kitchen and bathroom cabinets) can cause water damage to the respective ones Areas when they burst.
As a result, you are paying more than just the average Repair cost of $ 5,000 for your burst pipes; You also need to consider the cost of replacing drywall or kitchen cabinets in case the water is affecting other areas of your home. Not to mention, if water gets into your home, you are also at risk Mould.
If you find a faucet not running when you turn it on or your toilet does not refill after a flush, it could be an indication that your pipes are frozen. First, let’s talk about how to thaw frozen pipes and then prevent your pipes from freezing in the future.
How to thaw frozen pipes
If you turn on your faucet and find that there is only a small drop of water coming out or no water at all, the water in your pipes is most likely frozen.
The american red cross suggests thawing the pipes by leaving the faucet on first. This relieves the pressure built up between the blockage of frozen water and the faucet, allowing it to move slowly through the pipe and out of the faucet as the water thaws, rather than building up in the pipe and bursting from the sudden release of pressure.
If you have access to the frozen section of pipe, thaw the frozen water by heating the pipe using one of the following Red Cross preferred methods:
- Wrap the pipe with an electric heating pad
- Apply heat to the pipe with an electric hair dryer or space heater
- Wrap the pipe with towels soaked in hot water
The Red Cross does not recommend using a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any other device with an open flame.
When you start to thaw the frozen tube and the water starts to melt, the water will flow through the frozen area helping to melt the ice in the tube. Keep applying heat to the pipe until the faucet has reached full water pressure again.
If your water hasn’t thawed yet or you don’t have access to the frozen pipe, you may need to call a licensed plumber. Make sure you check additional areas in your home as a frozen pipe can be an indicator of additional frozen pipes.
What to do if a frozen pipe bursts in your home
Let’s say you don’t catch the frozen pipe in time and you’re dealing with one now Burst pipe at your home. Whether it’s a small leak or a flood, the first thing you should do is call a licensed plumber.
However, while you wait for the plumber to arrive, there are a few steps you can take to minimize water damage to your home.
First, close your home’s main water valve and turn off the electricity in your home. Turning off the water will prevent more water from entering your home, while turning off the electricity will prevent electric shock because water is a conductor if exposed to an electrical short or loose wire.
When you confirm that both the water and electricity are off, remove as much water as possible with a mop, sponge, towel, or wet vacuum cleaner to prevent mold and mildew.
Depending on how long the outbreak was left unattended, you may also need to call a water damage professional to replace carpets, floors, drywall, and ceilings.
The good news is that most insurance agencies will cover a burst pipe or water damage caused by a burst pipe. Check your Homeowner Insurance Today to see if this is included in your coverage. The worst part would be to wait until you have to make a claim to see if it is covered.
Tips to keep your pipes from freezing this winter
Proper insulation is required to prevent your pipes from freezing in winter. With thousands of dollars of damage in the pipeline, you may want to invest the time and money to insulate your pipes before the temperatures drop – especially if you are in an older home or in a home traditionally warmer Climates Live As The Pipes Won Don’t be so isolated in climates that are not used to the cold.
Pipe insulation costs an average of 50 cents per linear foot (LF) and is relatively easy to install yourself. In high-risk areas such as indoor spaces that have no access to heat, such as basements, attics, and garages, installing insulation can help keep your home dry. If you’d rather not build your insulation yourself, You can call a professional for a quote for your home.
Additionally, Consumer reports recommends the following actions when the temperature drops below freezing:
Set your thermostat to 55 degrees Fahrenheit
Keeping your thermostat at a constant temperature can help prevent your pipes from freezing. Consumer Reports recommends at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, keep the heating on, even if you don’t plan to be home for a long time in winter. This will keep your pipes warm and prevent the water inside from freezing and bursting while you are away.
Let your faucet drip
It may seem strange to have the faucet drip, but when the faucet is open it actually releases pressure between the blockage and the faucet in case the pipes should freeze.
Don’t worry – Consumer Reports only recommends this when the weather drops below freezing, so you don’t have to keep your faucet dripping all winter.
Keep the garage door closed
Your garage is already exposed to freezing temperatures due to its location and construction – a concrete or metal structure will only be that warm.
However, keeping your garage door closed will reduce the amount of cold air entering your garage and any outside walls that pipes could be attached to.
Keep the interior doors open
Because kitchen and bathroom cabinets often contain pipes that connect to a faucet or toilet, keeping the doors open can expose the plumbing inside to warm air that is already circulating through your home.
In addition, the doors to your bedroom, bathroom, and other enclosed areas of your home should be kept open to allow heat to circulate freely from room to room in your home.
Fix any cracks or holes in your house
Make sure you close any gaps or holes that could potentially let cold air in if pipes run through the walls or floors of your home. You can use caulking or spray foam to seal any gaps.
The likelihood of your pipes freezing this winter depends on the temperature, the age of your home, and the insulation of your pipes. While you can’t control the weather or the age of your home, you can stay one step ahead of winter weather by properly insulating your pipes and following the tips above Keep your tubes from freezing.
Do you have any tips on how to prevent pipes from freezing in winter? Let us know in the comments below!