All materials contract because they get colder and colder and be more dense until the point at which they freeze. Water is very unique. That is the reason why ice floats on top of the water it is less dense. This expansion is really a Force of Nature — nothing can stop the 11% expansion. When the water is contained, as it is inside of a pipe, this expansion will melt the pipe (or another container — think about that a frozen can of soda or bottle of wine)!
Pipes that freeze most often are those that are vulnerable to the cold, including outside hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water distribution pipes in unheated interior areas such as attics and crawl spaces, garages, or cabinets on outside walls. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have insufficient or no insulation are also subject to freezing. Leaking water pipes often results in significant to extreme water damage and the cost to repair can often be enormous! These tips can help both prevent freezing pipes and thaw those which are already frozen:
- The water from the swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines must be emptied following the manufacturer’s or installer’s instructions. Using antifreeze in these lines should be avoided if possible (keeping in mind that antifreeze is environmentally dangerous, and is very harmful to people, pets, wildlife, and landscaping). Hoses used outdoors should be emptied, emptied, and stored. Interior valves supplying outdoor hose bibs must be shut. The outside hose bibs should be open, to allow water to drain.
- From the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bath cabinets where water supply lines are located in unheated areas, both hot and cold water pipes must be checked and insulated to help prevent freezing.
Particular products designed to insulate water pipes, such as a “pipe sleeve” or UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials can be installed on exposed water pipes. If nobody will be home for an elongated time period during cold weather, the warmth in the house should be left, set to a temperature no greater than 50° F. The Master Valve to the home ought to be shut off. All taps should be left “open.” If the home gets power, the open valves will help prevent pipes from bursting, and also the “shut-off” Master Valve ensures that even if there’s a fracture, the outcome will probably be minor, compared to an open line running wild! Despite all the above steps, homeowners should arrange for a neighbor to walk through the house daily — only to keep your eye on unforeseen events!
- Freezing pipe requirements should be monitored and a faucet ought to be allowed to drip slightly. Moving water (even a drip) will help prevent pipes from freezing.
- Throughout chilly winter, garage doors should be kept closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Kitchen and bathroom cupboard doors must be kept open, allowing warmer air to circulate the pipes. Harmful cleaners and household chemicals must be transferred from the reach of kids.
What can be achieved if a pipe is supposed to be suspended?
- The reduced water flow in the faucet is the very first sign of freezing. The most likely places for frozen pipes comprise exterior walls or in which the water service enters the home through the foundation.
- Heat should be placed on the section of the pipe with an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable substances), or simply by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Blowtorches, kerosene or propane heaters, charcoal stoves, or another open flame device should never be utilized for this function.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE FAUCET IS OPEN AND THAT THAWING BEGINS ON THE FAUCET SIDE. If the heat is placed in the “center” of a frozen section, that section will melt. Since both sides are still frozen, that water may turn to steam and could cause the pipe to burst! When starting next to the faucet, some water (or steam) can escape that tap and also help prevent damage/harm.
- Heating should be applied until the full water pressure is restored. If the frozen area cannot be located, is not available, or if the pipe can’t be thawed, a licensed plumber must be called. • All other faucets in the home must be checked to find out whether there are additional frozen pipes. If a single pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
- After the pipes have thawed, all water lines to faucets and the ice maker have to be turned off, and the water meter should be monitored for any unseen leaks.
- If a pipe bursts, the water has to be shut off at the primary valve. Then a plumber must be called (it can help to maintain a crisis amount nearby for fast access). Then call PuroClean to assess and fix any water damage which might have led. Check this website to learn more.
Regardless of the situation — coping with broken pipes or other water damage, puff-backs or alternative fire/smoke harm, odors, mold remediation, or even biohazard remediation — call your regional PuroClean office, The Paramedics of Property Damage. They’ll mitigate the loss to prevent additional damage and will then provide water damage restoration and other property restoration services to return the house to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All of PuroClean offices have well-trained professional technicians who provide the most recent state-of-the-science services to all or any property damaged from fire, water, smoke, mold, and other crises.