Pipes are at risk of freezing or bursting during extremely cold weather. Wind chill increases the risk. The water turns to ice inside of the pipe, expands then causes a blockage. The blockage puts such pressure on the plumbing system that it can cause the pipe to burst or crack in its weak areas. This is true even if the pipe is made out of plastic or metal, including steel. Even a small crack can cause a pipe to leak a startling amount of water every day. Some experts put this figure a 250 gallons. That much water can easily damage property or shut down a business. Moreover, it can cost a lot of money to repair.
Here are some tips to lower the risk of pipes freezing:
- A home or business owner should open undersink cabinets during cold weather. This lets the heat from the room enter and raises the temperature around the pipes. Faucets should be opened up overnight to allow a trickle of hot and cold water, though the customer should make sure that the water doesn’t flow into a drain line that’s being exposed to very cold weather. This might cause the line to freeze.
- Pipes found in unheated areas should be insulated. This includes pipes that are found against unprotected exterior walls, crawlspaces and garages. These pipes can be wrapped with heat tape or heat cables controlled by a thermostat.
- The heat should be on in the building and the room temperature should be no less than 55 degrees F.
What To Do About Frozen Pipes
- If the pipes freeze, the main water valve should be turned off. This will lower the pressure in the system and reduce the amount of flooding from ruptured pipes.
- If the customer can access the frozen pipe, a hair dryer should be used to thaw the ice. Never use a flame to thaw the pipes! If the pipes are located in the floor or the wall, contact Rite-A-Way. The professionals have equipment that safely thaw pipes.
- The customer should call a plumber right away if he or she notices the water flow slowing down or if he or she expects the pipes to freeze. A plumber can troubleshoot the problem.