With cold weather comes the potential for pipes to freeze. Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes and water damage, so it is important to know what to do when the pipes freeze during the winter.
How to prevent frozen pipes
Preventing frozen pipes is the best way to deal with cold weather and pipes. If you have the opportunity, insulate hot and cold water pipes against the freezing conditions and use foam insulation to cover gaps in the exterior walls.
Allowing faucets to drip will keep water moving through the lines. When water is moving, it is harder to freeze. Another way to prevent frozen pipes is to open cabinet doors and allow the heat of your home to warm the pipes under sinks.
Keep the garage door closed. The goal is to limit how much cold air gets into the home and freezes the pipes. The garage is one of the places where cold air can seep into the home, and it is also one of the places that people forget about.
Thawing frozen pipes
Sometimes pipes will still freeze. So, what can homeowners do when they suspect that their home’s pipes have frozen?
One of the first things that homeowners should do if they suspect frozen pipes is to identify which pipes are frozen. They should also check the water lines that go into and out of the home.
Turn off the water supply before you start dealing with frozen pipes. Frozen water in the pipes could be preventing water from rushing through the cracks in the pipes, and all bets are off once that water is thawed.
Preparing to Thaw Frozen Pipes
Be prepared with mops and buckets just in case the water gets everywhere. Turning off the water supply prevents more water from spewing from the pipes.
For pipes that you are able to reach, you can use a hair dryer to thaw the pipes. It takes time and patience to warm the pipes with a hair dryer but is worth the effort to prevent the pipes from bursting.
Other methods depend on the location of the pipes. Heat lamps and portable heaters are a good way to warm pipes located under sinks and vanity cabinets. Place the heater within a safe distance and make sure that the heater and its cords do not come into contact with any water. If that is not possible, then it is best not to thaw the pipes this way. Remember that you do not want to cause a fire in addition to having frozen pipes.
Electrical pipe heat tape is also a great method for warming pipes after they have frozen. Wrap the heat tape or cable around the pipe and plug it in. You can also use this as a way to prevent frozen pipes. Make sure to read the instructions and all warnings before installing the heat tape on your pipes.
What to do if a pipe bursts
If you discover that a pipe has burst, then call water damage experts as soon as possible. Turn off the water valve to stop the water supply. Water damage can lead to mold growth and weakened materials. Water can stain and cause odors in carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture.
Water damage remediation extracts the water. This dries out the water. Then the team will clean and repair as needed. Burst pipes can lead to extensive water damage, and the damage needs to be treated as soon as possible to prevent the growth of mold and further damage.