When water freezes, it expands. That’s not a big deal unless it’s in a container where expansion isn’t well tolerated, such as pipes. If a pipe freezes, it exerts over 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, which is enough to cause almost any pipe to split wide open. Naturally, expanding water will escape through the split and doesn’t stop until you turn it off at the valve. This leads to flooding, high water bills, and even higher repair bills.
To help prevent pipes from freezing:
- Insulate any pipes that are exposed, such as in crawl spaces or those that lead to outside spigots.
- Keep cabinet doors open when they contain pipes that are near an outside wall. This allows the heat inside your home to circulate around the pipes and prevent them from freezing.
- On extremely cold nights, keep warm water dripping from faucets on outside walls overnight. That means that the water is moving through the pipes and is much less likely to freeze.
Before you have a plumbing emergency, such as a frozen pipe:
- Know where your main water supply shut-off is. Look for it under the kitchen sink, which is the most likely location.
- Know the number of a trusted plumber who is available 24/7 for emergency services.
If a pipe freezes:
- Turn off the main water supply as soon as you discover the frozen pipe.
- Remove anything that can be damaged by water from the area around the pipe and cover anything that cannot be removed to protect it against water in case the pipe bursts.
- Call us immediately. Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe on your own. A plumber knows what to do safely and with minimal damage to your home and belongings. The type of flooding that occurs with a burst pipe can damage your home’s structure and electrical wiring. A trained plumber can help prevent this.
Winter weather brings a unique set of problems all over your home, but the one that can cause the most damage is frozen pipes. Be prepared by knowing what to do before pipes freeze and how to handle the emergency if they do.