Idaho winters are brutal. We are no strangers to cold, snow, and ice here in Idaho Falls, but hopefully most of us are strangers to frozen pipes. However, with how cold our winters are, frozen pipes are a common problem for homeowners here. Frozen pipes can mean major water damage for your home, so we, at Restore Rite, are going to give you the lowdown on all you need to know about frozen pipes.
When pipes freeze, they block water flow. Not only is the lack of water inconvenient, but it is also dangerous for the integrity of the pipe. Water expands when it freezes, and extra expansion inside a pipe increases the pressure on the pipe itself. Pipes are rigid and do not expand, so when pressure gets too high, the only way to release it is for the pipe to burst. When a pipe bursts, the water inside will flood out once it thaws. This can mean serious water damage in your home. On top of all of that, it is super inconvenient when you cannot access running water because of a frozen pipe. Overall, frozen pipes are just bad news.
The most obvious sign that a pipe is frozen is the lack of running water. When you turn a faucet on, you expect water to flow immediately. When that doesn’t happen in the winter, odds are the water in the pipe is frozen. Another sign you can look for to diagnose a frozen pipe is frost or moisture accumulation on or around the pipe itself. Some pipes are more at risk of freezing than others, so those are the pipes you should focus on. Pipes that are located along exterior walls or that are not exposed to heat or insulation around your home are more at risk. That means you may have to journey to the garage, the attic, or even the basement to check for frozen pipes since those areas are colder than the rest of your home.
First things first, you need to thaw the freeze. Leave the faucet on even though no water is flowing, that way, when the water does thaw, it has somewhere to go. There are a few ways you can thaw the frozen water, and most can be done fairly easily. If the faucet is under a sink cabinet, keep the cabinet doors open so that the warm air in the home can circulate around the pipe. Most local hardware stores carry heated pipe insulation that you wrap around the pipe and plug in to get heat directly on the pipe. You can also plug in a space heater in the area the pipe is frozen to help bring the heat. However, anytime you plug something in be sure to keep a close eye on it! If you have pipes that are more prone to freezing, you should apply these techniques as preventative measures to keep pipes from freezing in the first place. If you are unable to get the water to flow through the pipe after all your efforts, you may need to call in the professionals.
At Restore Rite, we know how stressful frozen pipes and water damage can be. That is why we are here for you, for all your water damage cleanup needs no matter what the cause. Stay warm this winter, and if you need water damage cleanup, give us a call.