19 Sep Four Awesome Tips To Prevent Frozen Pipes
Though winter has only just begun, we have already experienced extreme cold and freezing rain. Winter weather outdoors is not the only concern for homeowners; frozen and bursting water pipes cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage every year. We may not have had a white Christmas, but it is important to prepare now for protecting against frozen pipes when the cold returns.
Vigilance is Key Against Frozen Pipes
You know the old saying, “Don’t like the weather in Raleigh, just wait five minutes.” One of the challenges to remaining vigilant against frozen pipes is that our coldest weather is inconsistent. In our area, about seventy times each year, powerful arctic cold fronts sweep in from Canada and cause the mercury to dip below freezing.
Prolonged periods of cold increase the chances of your pipes freezing; however, even one night of low temperatures in the teens can lead to frozen and burst pipes. Vigilant homeowners can take steps to significantly reduce the probability of experiencing frozen pipes.
How Can You Prevent Frozen Pipes?
- Pay Attention to the Weather: In North Carolina, we are all ears when we hear snow is in the forecast; however, homeowners should pay close attention to the weather forecast throughout winter. When temperatures drop below freezing, into the teens and twenties, water pipes are susceptible to freezing.
- Allow Water to Drip: It is more difficult for water to freeze when it’s in motion. A steady drip of water from your kitchen faucet can help keep your pipes free of ice on cold nights.
- Repair Leaking Pipes: If water is leaking from your pipes, freezing temperatures may exacerbate the issue. Frozen water will expand in cracks and could result in complete malfunction of your plumbing systems. Have leaks repaired by a professional plumber before the weather turns brutally cold.
- Insulate Exposed Water Pipes: In addition to increasing the energy efficiency of your plumbing systems, insulating exposed pipes will offer additional protection against the weather. If you choose to insulate exposed water pipes, make sure you use designated pipe insulation and continue to run water during cold nights.
What Do I Do If My Pipes Freeze?
On particularly cold mornings, if you find you do not have running water, a frozen pipe is likely to blame. When water freezes, it expands and threatens the integrity of your plumbing. However, frozen pipes do not always burst. If you suspect your pipes are frozen, don’t panic. Follow these steps:
- If you can, locate the frozen pipe: You are most likely to find the frozen pipe along an exterior wall or underneath your home.
- Determine if it burst or is leaking: If the pipe has burst, or is leaking, shut off your main water supply and call a professional plumber immediately.
- If the pipe has not burst, wait for it to thaw. If the temperature is expected to warm well above freezing, the pipe may thaw on its own. It is a good idea to turn off your main water supply until the temperatures warm. If you can locate the frozen pipe, you may consider thawing it with a hair dryer or warm light; however, do not use an open flame.
- If the pipe has burst, minimize damage: Contact a professional plumber as soon as possible. Additionally, remove rugs, carpet, and furniture. Soak up as much water as you can. Furniture and carpet can often be salvaged. Damage to sub-flooring and drywall should be repaired immediately. Mold can develop within 48 hours of the occurrence of water damage.
Having a professional plumber you can trust is important for ensuring repairs and installations are performed with excellence. All American’s plumbers are well-trained, licensed, and equipped to assess and repair frozen pipes and other plumbing issues. Call us if you the cold proves too much for your plumbing systems.