How to Cope with Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are considered as one of the plumbing emergencies that can be prevented using a few simple procedures. If you are not aware of the dangers of frozen pipes, then you definitely need to be read more about it or ask a licensed plumbing professional. So what are the things that you should know about frozen pipes?

The Cause

Why do pipes freeze? According to science, water possess that unique property that allows it to expand when it freezes. Imagine the water contained inside your plumbing pipes in its liquid and flowing state. It is easily contained by the plumbing pipes, until it freezes.

When the water inside the pipes freeze, the strength of the pipes do not matter. This is because as the water expands, it puts tremendous pressure on the piping material causing the pipe to break. It is important to note though that the pipes exposed to extreme cold are most susceptible to freezing and bursting. This includes pipes in unheated areas inside the home and those running along the walls with little to no insulation.

The Prevention

There are some things that can be done to make sure that your pipes do not freeze over during cold weather.

  • Make sure that you drain water from your pool as well as sprinkler lines and never use antifreeze products unless recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Remove outdoor hoses and drain them before storing. Leave outside valves open to drain water from the system and prevent pipes from bursting. The valves supplying water to the outdoor hose bibs should remain closed.
  • Add insulation to water pipes (both hot and cold) running in unheated areas of your home. You can use products specifically designed to insulate exposed water pipes. You can also make use of newspapers, even a fourth of an inch thick can deliver substantial insulation against prolonged cold temperatures.

There are also a couple of preventive actions that can be done to further protect your water pipes from freezing and bursting.

  • Keep the cabinet doors in the kitchen and bathroom open to make warm air circulate around the plumbing pipes.
  • If you have water lines in the garage, keep the garage doors closed.
  • For extremely cold weather, allow cold water to drip from your faucet to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Do not change the temperature setting for day and night. Keeping the temperature constant will increase your heating cost, but it will save you from the higher cost of repairing busted plumbing pipes. Homes that will be left alone during cold weather should have the thermostat set to 55 degrees at the lowest.

Thawing Pipes

In case you do get frozen pipes, the first order is to thaw them. So how do you go about it?

  • Keep the faucet open to allow the frozen water to melt faster. Running water helps in melting the ice compared to leaving it stagnant inside the pipes.
  • Use electric hair dryers, heating pads, or portable space heaters to heat frozen sections of the water pipes. If you don’t have any of those, soak bath towels in hot water and wrapped it around the pipes. Be careful with flammable materials lying around.
  • Checking for frozen pipes and thawing them can be challenging so do not think twice about calling a licensed plumbing professional.

Protection against Freezing

If you are experiencing frozen pipes now or have experienced it before, chances are you will be experiencing it again in the future. So what should you do to avoid this kind of scenario from happening again?

First, consider having the frequently freezing pipes to be relocated by licensed professional plumbers. Second, try adding insulation to the water pipes to maintain higher temperatures around the pipes during cold weather. Finally, you can discuss with plumbing professionals other solutions specific to the layout of your home plumbing system.

If you need more help on how to cope with frozen pipes, Scott English Plumbing has extensive experience in the plumbing industry that can help avert potential catastrophes in your home. Give them a call today.