The winter presents cold temperatures that can cause problems within your home. If the temperature is cold enough, you may find that the pipes in your home have become frozen. When this happens, the water inside the pipe freezes into ice which will expand and place enough pressure on the pipes to force them to burst open.
If such an event occurs, water can spill out from the frozen pipes and into your home. Soon enough, your home may experience serious water damage.
While you cannot stop winter’s freezing cold temperatures from coming, there are several actions you can take to prevent frozen pipes in your home this season.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Insulate the Pipes
A good way to prevent pipes from freezing is to insulate them, especially those located in vulnerable areas. For example, pipes found in crawlspaces and near exterior walls are more susceptible to becoming frozen. You can insulate these pipes by covering them with electrical tape or pipe insulation, which can be found at your local hardware store.
If you cannot find proper pipe insulation, then you can also wrap pipes in newspaper or fabric to keep them insulated.
Warm Areas with Vulnerable Pipes
If you cannot insulate pipes, then warm the area they are in to prevent the temperature from dropping below freezing. So long as it is safe to do so, set up a space heater in the area where pipes are vulnerable to freezing.
Maintain Warmer Interior Temperature
Chances are, during the winter, you are already going to set your thermostat to a warmer temperature to ensure you and your family remain comfortable. However, you may feel tempted to turn the heat off in your home if you will be gone for a period of time. it is important to maintain a warm interior temperature to prevent the pipes from becoming frozen.
Areas with pipes should not reach a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep the thermostat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you have trouble maintaining a certain temperature in a particular area, then set up a space heater to make sure the section does not become too cold.
Allow Warm Air to Circulate the Pipes
The pipes beneath your sink are also prone to becoming frozen. You can keep these pipes from freezing by opening up the cabinet doors that conceal them. This simple measure will allow warm air to access and circulate the pipes. If the cabinet doors remain closed, the warm air will otherwise never have an opportunity to reach these pipes.
Let Faucets Drip
While it may seem like a waste of water, allowing the faucets in your home to run a slow drip can help prevent pipes from becoming frozen. Albeit minimal, the slow drip will produce a water flow that helps prevent the pipes from freezing.
The cost you spend on the extra water used for the slow drip will be less than what you would spend on pipe repair and water damage restoration costs.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
Even if you prepare your pipes for the cold temperatures of winter, there can still be situations in which your pipes freeze. If you encounter any of the following signs, then these may indicate that your home’s pipes have become frozen.
Frosted or Icy Pipes
When pipes have become frozen, frost or ice may form on the outside of them.
Bulges in Pipes
The ice that forms inside of the pipes expands in size. This change in size can then cause bulges to form in the pipe. If you find bulging pipes, this is especially concerning. The ice has placed enough pressure on the pipe to create a bulge and it may burst at any moment.
What to Do If You Have Frozen Pipes
If you have frozen pipes at home, act immediately before the situation worsens and the pipes burst open.
Locate and Thaw the Pipe
Take the time to find and thaw the frozen pipe if possible. Turn on the faucets to see which ones are working — if any. If no faucets are running water, then the frozen pipe is located near the main water pipe.
Once you have located the frozen pipe, thaw it if possible. Not all pipes in your home are easy to access, such as those located behind drywall. But if the frozen pipe is in an open area or beneath the sink, then use a hair dryer or wrap an electric heating pad around it. A towel soaked in hot water is also a good alternative, but never use any sort of open flame to thaw the pipe.
Get Professional Help
Contact a plumber if you cannot locate the pipe or need help accessing it. They can find and thaw the pipe while causing as little property damage as possible.
Professional Water Damage Restoration
Preventing frozen pipes is possible with the proper proactive measures. However, there are still situations where the cold is too much to beat, causing your home’s pipes to freeze and burst open.
If your home experiences water damage due to frozen pipes that have burst, get in touch with ServiceMaster of Albuquerque and West Mesa for the comprehensive water damage restoration services we provide to residential and commercial properties in Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico. Our trained technicians will contain the water and restore the damage so that your home is safe to be in again.