Frozen Pipes and the aftermath
Really harsh weather conditions aren't always the case, but if this winter is a brutal and cold one. Read on and get some helpful tips and tricks to make sure you won't run into this.
Here are a few steps to help prevent freezing in your water pipes:
- Check your homes crawl space, attic and exterior walls and make sure that the pipes in those walls are properly insulated. Exposed pipes are at a higher risk to freezing.
- Pipes can be wrapped with heat tape, or heat cables that are thermostatically controlled. Be sure to use products approved for those specific uses, and follow the directions (exterior use only, etc.).
- Use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This will help reduce the chance of a pipe freezing in the span of pipe located in the house.
- Seal all leaks that allow airflow, and potential cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look especially for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold air out. When severe freezing occurs even a tiny little opening can let in enough air to cause a pipe to freeze.
- Turn on the faucets and let a small amount of hot and cold water to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet located on an exterior wall.
- Open cabinet doors underneath your sinks to allow heat to get un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature throughout the day and night. Some people let the temperature drop at night while they are sleeping but a sudden exterior temperature drop could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
- Keep the garage doors closed, especially if there are water pipes or supply lines located in the garage (ex. Washing machine, refrigerators, bathrooms, etc.). If the garage is attached to the home consider opening the door to the garage to allow home heat to enter the garage. Do not use kerosene or other fuel-fed heating devises in the garage to heat the space.
- Cover vents from the inside with insulation, cardboard, plastic, or newspaper if you cannot get them to close.
Water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts extreme pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to sever cold, like outdoor water faucets, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Also, pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation are subject to freezing.
For example, an 1/4th of an inch crack in a pipe can leak up to 500 gallons of water in a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and potential for mold growth.
Frozen pipes cause significant damage every year, but they often can be prevented. Taking a few simple steps, especially in the months leading up to the winter season, may save you from stress, expense, and an insurance claim.
If you do experience a frozen pipe burst make sure and call SERVPRO of Gig Harbor/N. Tacoma, or SERVPRO of Mason County. We will come in mitigated, and repair the damages…. making it "Like it never even happened."