Winter is coming, and it’s time to start preparing your home for the cold weather. Frozen pipes or burst pipes are a major problem in the winter. It can cause costly damage to your home and be a big inconvenience if it bursts.
Frozen or burst pipes are a common—and scary—problem for homeowners in the US. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), an average of 3.5 million water main breaks occur in the country yearly, and about 1.4 million residents experience frozen or burst pipes yearly.
But, these costly issues can be avoided with some simple steps and regular maintenance.
In this article, we’ll talk about when pipes freeze and how to prevent them. We’ll also go over some signs that you might have a problem with your plumbing system so that you can catch it early!
Let’s get started!
When do pipes freeze?
Pipes can freeze when the temperature of the water inside them drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your pipes are exposed to the outside air, they’re at greater risk of freezing than if they’re underground or in an insulated area.
What are the signs of frozen pipes?
When it comes to your plumbing, you don’t want to take any chances. You can’t afford to ignore the signs of frozen pipes because if you do, you might end up with a burst pipe or even a flooded home.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of frozen pipes in your home so that you can be proactive about maintaining your plumbing system.
Lack of water flow
If your water flow is slow or nonexistent, it could mean that your pipes are frozen. When a pipe freezes, it expands and can’t move water through it correctly, so you won’t be able to use it even if there’s plenty of water pressure in your home. If this happens, try turning up your home’s heat to thaw the pipe faster.
If you smell something strange coming from your sink or toilet, it might be because the pipes have frozen, allowing bacteria to grow inside them. If this happens, call a burst pipe repair plumber immediately so they can fix the problem before the bacteria spreads throughout your home and causes more serious damage!
Frost on your pipes
This is an obvious and big one! If you notice frost on any part of your plumbing system—inside or outside—you should get out there ASAP and make sure everything is okay.
Strange noises from water sources
If you start hearing weird sounds from where your water comes out, it’s worth checking into. Those sounds could mean that ice has built up on the inside of your pipes, and they’re starting to crack or break apart!
Visible leaks when thawing
If you notice that there’s water dripping from your ceiling or other areas of the house after it has been frozen, then this is another sign that something is wrong with your plumbing system.
Water temperature issues
If your water feels unusually cold, it could mean that your pipes are frozen. You can check this by taking a shower and running the tap while you’re in there. If the water feels cooler than usual, chances are there’s a problem with your plumbing system.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes?
When you have frozen pipes, it’s an emergency. Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes and flooded basements, not to mention the damage that freezing can do to your home’s foundation. But where do you start when you’re caught off-guard by a frozen pipe and need to get it thawed as soon as possible?
Here are some steps to thaw frozen pipes:
Keep the faucet open.
Open the faucet connected to the frozen pipe. As you thaw the pipe, water and pressure will build up, and an open faucet will allow the water to flow, relieving pressure and reducing the risk of pipe damage.
Locate the frozen section.
Determine which section of the pipe is frozen. This can be done by feeling colder spots along the pipe or identifying areas where water flow is disrupted.
There are several methods to thaw frozen pipes. Here are a few options:
- Hairdryer: Use a hairdryer set on high heat to blow warm air directly onto the frozen section of the pipe. Start from the faucet end and work your way toward the frozen area. Move the dryer back and forth to distribute the heat evenly. Avoid using the hairdryer near any standing water to prevent electrical hazards.
- A heat lamp or space heater: Position a heat lamp or space heater near the frozen pipe, focusing the heat on the affected section. Ensure proper ventilation and maintain a safe distance from flammable materials. Never leave the heat source unattended.
- Hot towels or electric heating pads: Wrap hot towels soaked in hot water around the frozen pipe, or use electric heating pads designed for this purpose. Secure them in place and wait for the heat to thaw the ice.
- Hot water: If the frozen pipe is accessible and not near any electrical components, you can try pouring hot boiling water over the frozen section. Start from the faucet end and continue until the ice melts and water flows freely.
- Apply gentle heat: Avoid using open flames, blowtorches, or high-powered heating devices directly on the pipes. Excessive heat can cause the pipe to burst, leading to further damage and potential injury.
Thawing pipes can take time, so be patient and monitor the progress. Continue applying heat until water flows freely from the faucet.
Check for leaks.
After thawing the pipe, check for any leaks or cracks that may have occurred during the freezing or thawing process. If you notice any leaks, it’s best to contact a plumber to address the issue.
Winter Maintenance Checklist for Preventing Frozen Pipes
Are your pipes freezing? It’s a common problem in the winter and one that can lead to significant damage if left unchecked.
Luckily, if you want to avoid a costly plumbing bill, check out this winter maintenance checklist for learning how to prevent pipes from freezing by a professional burst pipe repair plumber in Stafford, VA:
Insulate your pipes to prevent freezing. If you have a crawl space under your house, use the crawl space as an opportunity to insulate your pipes with fiberglass or polyester fiber insulation. Also, ensure that you insulate the water line into your home. You can do this by wrapping it with electrical tape or using foam pipe insulation.
Seal air leaks.
Sealing air leaks will help prevent frozen pipes in winter. These leaks can be found in areas like windows, doors, and basement walls. To seal them up, you can use caulk or weather stripping around the edges of these openings.
Disconnect garden hoses.
If your garden hose is connected to your home’s water supply, it will continue to draw in water when the temperature drops below freezing outside. This can cause the water inside your home’s pipes to freeze and expand—which can leave behind cracks that allow water to leak out of the walls or ceiling of your home.
Maintain indoor temperature.
Make sure that your home isn’t too cold by setting the thermostat on your furnace at 68 degrees F (or higher if necessary) while it’s not being used throughout the day and night. This will help maintain an even temperature throughout the house so that all rooms are comfortable even when they’re empty.
Let faucets drip.
If you have a faucet in an unheated area of your home, such as an outdoor spigot or one in a basement, let it drip at least twice per day. This will help you learn how to keep pipes from freezing when temperatures drop outside.
Open cabinet doors.
The best way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to open cabinet doors and get air circulating through your house. This will help keep the temperature inside consistent, preventing the water from freezing in your pipes.
Monitor the weather.
Winter weather can vary greatly by region, but if there is even a chance that your area will experience below-freezing temperatures, keep an eye on forecasts from NOAA or other sources. If there’s a chance of freezing temperatures in your area, take precautions now to prevent ice from forming inside your pipes.
Drain and shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets.
If you can’t drain all of your pipes, at least drain enough so that air can get in and prevent ice buildup on the inside of your system. If possible, leave a small amount of water running through them so there’s always some moisture in them (this will also help prevent freezing). Also, make sure that all doors leading into your house are closed tightly; if there’s no way for heat to escape from those rooms, any warmth left behind might cause problems when it gets cold outside!
Service your heating system.
If you have an oil or gas boiler, make sure it’s in good working condition before the cold weather hits. If you have an electric heater, ensure its thermostat is set correctly, and there aren’t any leaks in the system.
Be prepared for vacations.
If you’re going away for a few days during the winter months, turn off your water supply at the main valve for your house. This will prevent water from freezing in pipes if your heat goes out unexpectedly while you’re gone.
Get Permanent Solutions from Burst Pipe Repair Experts in Stafford, VA!
If you have burst pipes, it can cause severe damage to your home or business. You may have water damage, mold and mildew growth, and structural issues that need to be repaired. It is important to fix the problem as soon as possible so it does not get out of control.
At Hynes Plumbing Services, we offer permanent solutions for burst pipe repairs in Stafford, VA. We are your local burst pipe experts in Stafford, VA, and we want to ensure that you’re never left in the dark again when dealing with burst pipes.
We offer a wide range of plumbing services in Stafford, VA, including:
– Burst Pipe Repair
– Burst Pipe Replacement
– Drain Cleaning Services
– Sewer Line Repair and Replacement
– Backflow Testing
– Leak Detection and Repair
– Repiping Solution
– Tankless Water Heater Installation, Repair, and maintenance
– And Many More…
Our licensed and trained plumbers are experienced in dealing with all kinds of plumbing issues, including burst pipes. We will come out to your location and assess the situation so that we can give you an exact quote on how much it will cost to fix the problem.
We also make sure that your property is protected by using tarps when working on the job site so that any dirt or debris does not get tracked in your house or business.
So, if you have any questions about Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs in Stafford, please call us at (540) 659-3295!