Frozen Pipes 101

burst water pipe

Unfortunately, frozen pipes are all too common here in Northeast Ohio. When water freezes, it expands, putting tremendous force on pipes. Frozen pipes can be inconvenient and dangerous for a multitude of reasons, one being a lack of running water. This prevents you from accomplishing every day tasks such as doing dishes and taking a shower. Even worse, frozen pipes can cause your plumbing to crack or break in weak areas leading to extreme water damage and the need for costly repairs. Any pipe can freeze but some of the most vulnerable include those that are located in parts of the home that aren’t well insulated (such as an attic or basement) or pipes positioned along exterior walls.

Your pipes are frozen . . . now what?

There are a few ways you can spot frozen pipes. If you notice that the water flow out of faucets is starting to slow during a cold front, smell something strange coming from faucets or drains or see frost on your pipes, they are likely starting to freeze. You can use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw problem areas but don’t ever use a torch or any other open flame device as it can present a serious fire hazard. Keep your faucet open while you are attempting to thaw the pipes so that water can flow out. Turning up the thermostat to heat the air in your home a bit more can speed up the process.

If a pipe cracks or bursts, turn off your water supply (everyone in your family should know where the valve is and how to operate it!) and immediately call a professional.

Avoiding frozen pipes

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid frozen pipes in the long-term. On very cold days, consider letting your faucets drip slowly, encouraging a steady stream of water flow through your pipes. Open cabinet doors in order to circulate airflow and keep pipes warm. Keep garage doors closed. Work with a plumbing expert to ensure your home is winterized and insulated properly. This may include proper sealing around doors and windows, additional insulation in problem areas and protective covers on spickets or vulnerable pipes.

Read about additional ways to prevent cold-weather emergencies here and be sure to call Crown Group Ohio for your plumbing and HVAC needs.