Water damage can occur to your home any time of the year, but when the weather turns cold, the risk of frozen pipes—and subsequent water damage—increases. Frozen pipes present a unique challenge because water expands as it freezes. This expansion puts pressure on the container—in this case, your pipes—and the increase in internal pressure eventually splits the pipe or causes pipe joints to disconnect. While not all frozen pipes burst, expanding water increases the chances that your pipes will break, and busted household water lines can release several hundred gallons into your home per hour, resulting in extensive water damage.
Are Your Pipes In Danger Of Freezing?
When it comes to frozen pipes, the two things to keep in mind are the outdoor temperature and the duration of the cold. Usually, when outdoor temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, pipes are in danger of freezing. The longer outdoor temperatures remain this low (known as the danger zone), the greater the chance your pipes will freeze and burst.
Not all pipes in your house will be affected by freezing temperatures. Freezing mainly affects pipes in the following areas:
- Inside exterior walls.
- In an unheated crawl space, attic, basement, or garage.
- In cabinets under a sink that is close to an exterior wall.
What Can You Do To Prevent Frozen Pipes?
Keep an eye on the forecast, and when temperatures below 25 degrees are predicted, take the following steps:
- Add pipe insulation to any accessible pipe segments that go through unheated areas.
- Keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature, preferably 60 degrees or higher.
- Allow faucets to drip, which will release internal pressure if ice forms.
- Open cabinet doors under kitchen and bathroom sinks to let the heat from the house reach the pipes.
How Can You Tell If A Pipe Has Frozen?
One of the earliest signs of frozen pipes is a loss of water pressure at one or more fixtures. If little to no water comes out when you turn on the faucet, or if your toilet won’t refill after flushing, you are dealing with frozen pipes.
You won’t want to wait for the pipe to thaw out and cause water damage. Instead, act immediately to turn off the main shutoff valve and call a plumber.
What Do You Do If Your Pipes Unthaw And Burst?
Since not all your pipes will be affected, you may not know you have a problem until the weather warms and your pipes unthaw. If your pipes burst, take the following steps:
- Turn off water to the house at the main shutoff valve and call a plumber.
- Avoid flooded rooms where the electricity is still on. Turn off circuit breakers to those rooms before you enter.
- Where possible, use a floor squeegee or a broom to push standing water out of the house.
- Contact a qualified professional water damage recovery service like Ideal Basement Waterproofing.
How Ideal Basement Waterproofing Can Help
The professionals at Ideal Basement Waterproofing have over 25 years of experience dealing with water damage emergencies. We have an average response time of under one hour for those within a 50-mile radius of our offices in Fort Lee or Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more about our water damage restoration services and to find out how we can help.