This week’s Artic blast brings the threat of damage to Central Indiana homes in the form of burst water pipes and roof ice dams. Both conditions can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage to homes and belongings.
Frozen pipes cause a huge amount of damage every year. Unlike natural disasters, this disaster is largely preventable. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes cause.
Every winter season, the pipes in your home are at risk of damage from freezing conditions. Low temperatures can cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases burst. The following 7 tips can help you safeguard your home before, during and after a pipe freezes:
- Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
- Keep your house temperature at 68 degrees or higher, even if you’re leaving the house for an extended period of time.
- Open cabinet doors below sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
- Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
- Close all windows near water pipes.
- Heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
- Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
Surprisingly, ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. It’s not the radial expansion of ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the break. Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream — between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. It’s this increase in water pressure that leads to pipe failure.
If a faucet or pipe inside your house freezes, you can thaw it using a good hair dryer. (For safety purposes, avoid operating a hair dryer around standing water and never use an open flame to thaw your pipes). To thaw a frozen pipe, heat water on the stove, soak towels in the hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipes. When thawing a pipe, start thawing it nearest to the faucet. Make sure the faucet is turned on so that melted water can drip out.
Did you know a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water in a day? But all it takes is a little bit of labor and a few supplies to skate through deep freezes without your home becoming a kiddie pool.
With that said, sometimes even with all of these precautions, not all frozen water pipes can be prevented. Read more about what to do if your pipes do freeze and cause water damage to your home here: Water Damage Restoration & Frozen Pipes
If you have any questions or need water damage cleanup, call Gemini at 855-2-GEMINI