We’re in the heavy winter season here in Utah, and that means a few things for homeowners. Within the realm of plumbing, it means this is the most important time of year to be on the lookout for frozen pipes.
At All Hours Plumbing, our residential and commercial plumbing services include helping you prepare for winter to avoid even the smallest risk of your pipes freezing. Let’s look at why pipes freeze in the first place, which of your pipes might be at the greatest risk, and what you can do if you do find a frozen pipe in your home’s plumbing system.
Why Pipes Freeze
Frozen pipes generally appear based on the simple physics of moisture: When water reaches a certain level of cool temperature, it freezes and begins to expand. Have you ever tried putting a full water bottle in the freezer, only for it to explode? This expansion is why.
And as water expands within pipes as it freezes, it puts lots of pressure on them. This pressure can lead to cracks or even bursting pipes in many cases, which are a major hassle and cost you significant sums to repair.
Primary Pipes at Risk
The pipes you should be most concerned about when it comes to freezing are those exposed to the outdoors. Pipes that run to your sprinklers or any pool supplies, for instance, are susceptible to colder temperatures than most others. This theme, though, can even extend to kitchen cabinets that are attached to exterior walls. Any unheated area of the home may also be a risk – areas like basements and crawl spaces are some of the most common locations for frozen pipes.
Tips for Frozen Pipes
If you have found frozen pipes anywhere in your home, here are some basic things to do and not do:
- Open the faucet closest to the pipe that’s frozen, using both cold and hot water. This often helps relieve pressure that’s built up, lowering the chances of the pipe rupturing due to temperature.
- Look for ways to warm the pipe, such as using a heating pad or some kind of makeshift insulation (full-time insulation is also an option our pros can help you with). However, do not ever use a blow torch or any other kind of open flame for this sort of heating.
- Check all the other faucets in your home for at least a minute or two to see if there are other areas of your pipes that may be frozen.
- Know where your main water shutoff valve is – you will need to use this immediately if any pipes burst.
- Call our pros for help – many frozen pipes won’t be easily accessible, for one, and we can also help you with what frozen pipes might be saying about your entire plumbing system.
For more on what to do if you experience frozen pipes, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at All Hours Plumbing today.