Frigid Temps Can Cause Significant Water Damage
Frigid temperatures are forecast over the next several days and weeks. Taking a few preventative actions now can help avoid major plumbing issues and potential water damage to your home or business.
Very cold weather can lead to broken water lines and substantial water damage, especially for older homes. Cold temperatures and winter winds can push very cold air into your home and cause poorly insulated pipes in your walls, basements, and crawl spaces to freeze. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are also subject to freezing. An 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
Preventative Steps to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes cause significant damage every year. Taking a few simple steps, may save you the aggravation and expense associated with dealing with frozen water lines.
- Determine which interior or exterior water pipes are most exposed to freezing temperatures and which part of your home normally faces prevailing winter winds.
- Check the insulation of pipes in your crawl spaces and attic. Insulate exposed water pipes with spray insulation, heat tape, or wrap insulation around the pipes.
- Seal gaps or leaks that allow cold air inside your home where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
- Leave interior doors open in rooms, cabinets, or closets that contain plumbing appliances, faucets, and valves so that warm air can circulate through these areas. Make sure all exterior windows, doors and vents are closed.
- Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside your exterior wall.
During any subzero forecasts, allow a trickle of hot and cold water to run to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Keep the thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you are asleep, but when temperatures drop overnight it could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
If Your Pipes Freeze
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If your home or business is flooding, turn off the main water valve. Never touch or use electrical appliances in areas of standing water due to potential electrocution.
- Try to identify where the frozen pipe is located. Frozen pipes often have frost on them, a slight bulge or crack, or ice if there is a crack and water is leaking.
- Never try to thaw a frozen pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire. Always begin the thawing process near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage. This permits melting ice or steam to escape from the faucet.
- You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe. Heat lamps or hot towels can also be used.
- If the frozen pipe is behind a wall, above a ceiling, or under a floor, you may have to cut an opening in the enclosed area to allow heat to penetrate.
- If your water pipes burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff and call a plumber.
- If you have standing water, call a water damage remediation clean-up company immediately to prevent mold and further damage to your home or business.
- If you are going to be away from home during cold weather, always leave the heat set to a temperature no lower than 60°F.
Always Available 24/7 When You Have an Emergency
No one wants to deal with burst water pipes when its 15 degrees outside. But if you have an emergency, Brenneco Plumbing is available 24/7 to fix your plumbing problems. Contact us anytime at 765-448-6190.