Frozen Water Pipes Can Cause Tremendous Damage
Rarely have we seen a deep freeze like the one we are seeing in January of 2014. This arctic blast goes from the Dakotas and Minnesota all the way down to Atlanta and stretches to the East coast. We think we would be remiss in not giving you some tips on how you can spare yourself the aggravation and more importantly the huge expense that can be associated with frozen water pipes in your home or business.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
#1 Tip : Unhook Your Garden Hoses – The number one reason for frozen water pipes in a home is when a homeowner does not remove their
garden hoses from the out door spigots. If the hose is not removed many times water gets trapped inside the water line leading to the spigot. Because the spigot is exposed to the elements the water freezes. Water expands when frozen and unfortunately copper and plastic do not expand with it, eventually the walls of the pipe weaken and break.
#2 Tip : By now you’ve probably heard this one but we will say it again. Keep your faucets open a touch especially if you have any plumbing facing an outside wall. Water that is moving is likely to freeze. If you have plumbing at both ends of your home or business keep a faucet or valve open to a drip at each end of the house
3# Tip : Keep your cabinets underneath your sinks open. In extreme cold the space underneath your sinks can act like a little ice box keeping the cold right where it is doing the most damage. If you open the cabinets you let the warm air from the room circulate under the sink warming up the waste and water piping.
#4 Tip : If you do experience a local freeze you can use a hair dryer to thaw the piping out. Again, this is for a local freeze, for instance you have one bathroom on an outside wall and the water piping and P-Trap are frozen underneath the vanity. You can use the hairdryer in this situation. If you find it is more extensive please call a professional plumber.
The Real Bad News Behind Frozen Pipes
The purpose behind this piece is not to scare you but to inform you that if you don’t take the proper precautions it can lead to some extensive damage and a potentially large plumbing project. When water pipe freezes and bursts, it bursts at the weakest point of the piping. However, the water that is frozen has been expanding along the length of the piping run weakening the entire run of pipe. So you my have one leak that is visible but after that has been repaired leaks begin to spring along the entire run of pipe and fittings. We call this “Chasing the Leak” because the plumber is literally chasing the next leak. We can tell you from experience that quite often when a plumber fixes a small leak from pipe freezing they end up replacing a significant amount of the water piping.
We leave you with this, keep warm and please take the above precautions seriously they are very simple things to do to prevent a whole lot of damage and expense.