Articles and conversations about winterizing home plumbing are hot topics as colder weather settles in—and rightly so. If you have ever had a frozen pipe burst in your home, you know that it is not a pleasant experience. Water damage occurs quickly and can be quite expensive involving extensive cleanup efforts. The best course to take heading into winter is a little knowledge and a little prevention. Keep reading to learn why frozen water pipes burst, how to prevent pipes from freezing, and what to do if your pipes do freeze.
WHY DO FROZEN PIPES BURST?
This is a great question from homeowners and business owners that our plumbers hear often. So, why do frozen pipes burst? As water inside of a pipe freezes, it expands along the length of the pipe. The expanding ice dramatically increases pressure inside the pipe by pushing water toward the faucet or water fixture. When the spike in pressure has become too great, the pipe fails and bursts. Another contributing factor to a frozen pipe bursting is the weakened condition of the pipe in freezing temperatures.
PREVENTING PIPES FROM FREEZING
Pipe Winterizing Products
- Available in foam rubber and fiberglass, cover exposed water pipes (both hot and cold) with insulation sleeves. Use fiberglass sleeves near heat (e.g. water heater).
- Available in foam rubber and fiberglass, wrap exposed water pipes. Don’t wrap too tightly. Foam and fiberglass insulation shouldn’t be compressed.
- Heat cables keep pipes warm to prevent freezing. Wrap heat cable around pipes or tape the heat cable to pipes with electrical tape. Follow manufacturers installation instructions.
Winterizing Indoor Plumbing
- Locate all exposed water pipes inside your home, both hot and cold water pipes.
- Install the insulation sleeve, wrap, tape, and/or heat cable around exposed pipes.
- In extremely cold weather, turn on faucets to a trickle.
- Open cabinets to allow heat to reach pipes.
Winterizing Outdoor plumbing
- Store away garden hoses.
- Turn off water supply to spigots, and open spigots (and leave open) to allow water to drain out.
- If outdoor and indoor water shutoffs are not separate, cover outdoor hose bibs with foam insulation kits to help prevent indoor pipes from freezing.
WHAT TO DO IF MY PIPES FREEZE?
Isolate Frozen Pipes
The first thing you should do to help prevent frozen pipes from bursting is to shut off the water supply to your house. Locate the water main and turn off the water. Now that the water supply is off, turn on all of the water fixtures and faucets inside and outside your home. This will allow any remaining water in your home’s plumbing to drain out and release pressure inside the frozen pipes.
Inspect Frozen Pipes
Examine all of the exposed pipes inside and outside your home for leaks. If you see water leaks, call your plumber right away. Use a hair dryer or a space heater to begin thawing frozen water pipes. If you use a kerosene heater, don’t use it in an enclosed space. Don’t place the heater near flammable materials or items that can be damaged from heat.
Bear in mind that when pipes thaw, unexposed sections of pipe inside walls could have leaks. This will cause water damage in the surrounding area. However, since the water main is turned off, the damage will be limited to the amount of ice/water in the pipes that has melted.
Call Roto-Rooter St. Cloud!
The best solution to troubleshooting frozen pipes is to call your professional plumber and water cleanup specialist. That’s MN Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleanup! Our plumbers are trained to handle frozen pipes and water cleanup. Your Roto-Rooter plumber knows how to thoroughly inspect pipes for wear, damage, and leaks, and is equipped with the right parts and tools to get the job done quickly and accurately.
If you would like the services of a professional plumber to winterize your Monticello home’s plumbing or to troubleshoot frozen pipes, call the plumbing pros at MN Roto-Rooter Plumbing and Water Cleanup (320) 207-1079! Or, contact us through our online form.