Most pipe bursts occur in residential homes during the winter season
[lead]Winter brings with it a lot of unpredictability, and you never really know what you might get from year to year.[/lead] It doesn’t matter if weather experts are predicting warmer than usual weather, or if they are saying it’s going to be a long winter, there’s always going to be at least a few storms that have the potential to bring cold weather that can lead to frozen pipes.
So whether there is a deep freeze that lasts for a few days, or an ice storm that knocks out power for a few hours or more, it’s possible to experience frozen pipes. Preparation is the key to preventing frozen pipes, and now is the time to get started.
Prevention Steps to Take Now
1.) Take advantage of nice weather now to identify areas that are at risk of frozen pipes and take action. Check the insulation in your attic or crawlspace, and make sure your pipes are adequately protected. If you need to add insulation, make sure to follow all directions and wear the necessary protective equipment, especially when dealing with fiberglass insulation.
2.) You should also make sure you know where your water shutoff valve is and how to shut off water for your entire house. If you end up with a burst pipe, your definitely going to need to shut off the main water supply line quickly, and it will need to stay off until the pipe can be repaired. A temporary patch kit can be used to seal the pipe until a permanent repair can be made, but should only be used if necessary. Remember that if conditions existed to freeze the pipe once, it may happen again before repairs can be made.
3.) If you have a large unfinished area in your home, foam board can be used to temporarily insulate the area. Secure the foam boards to the framing using drywall screws. This will help keep cold air out, and will add a layer of insulation to keep the air inside warmer longer.
What to Do When it Gets Cold
When the temperatures drop and there is the potential for frozen pipes, it’s still not too late for a little prevention. Avoid the temptation to turn down the thermostat to save money and energy when it gets really cold outside, as this can cause the uninsulated areas of your home to drop below freezing and lead to frozen pipes.
A heat trace cable can be installed on pipes susceptible to freezing. Be sure to follow all directions for correct installation and use. In a pinch, a space heater can be used to keep uninsulated or poorly insulated areas above freezing to prevent frozen pipes.
At Regent Restoration, we understand that even with the best prevention, frozen pipes and the water damage that follows can and do still happen. Our water damage restoration team is on-call 24 hours a day and will respond quickly to your water damage emergency. Contact us today.
Even if you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent your pipes from freezing, sometimes the unexpected happens. Maybe a major storm knocked out power for several hours, causing the temperature in your home to drop and your pipes to freeze. Or maybe you left home for a few days, making sure to set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature to prevent freezing, and your furnace malfunctioned and did not heat your home properly.
Whatever the reason, frozen pipes should be a major concern, as this can cause physical damage your pipes and require repairs, and also because they can lead to some serious water damage in your home. Whenever you have frozen pipes, you should get to work to thaw the pipes as soon as possible to prevent damage to both the pipe and your home.
Here’s how to thaw frozen pipes yourself:
Open The Faucets
Remember to first open the faucet on the frozen pipe to allow any steam or water to escape to prevent further damage to the pipe as you heat the pipe and melt the ice inside. If you can’t thaw the pipe yourself or you cant access the location of the frozen pipe, you should call a licensed plumber to help.
Use Electrical Heat Tape
This specially designed electric heat tape is used to wrap around the pipe to slowly thaw the pipe. Make sure to use heat tape certified by a national testing laboratory, and follow all directions carefully. Never double-wrap the tape as this can cause overheating and lead to a fire.
Soak With Hot Water
This method only works if you have running water and the ability to heat water. Essentially, you should wrap the frozen pipe with several towels or cloths and pour hot water over the material. After the water cools, you’ll want to repeat the process several times until the pipe is thawed. This is a method that just about anyone can use on short notice.
Use Direct Heat
Applying direct heat to the frozen pipe can help encourage thawing. Using a heat lamp, electric hair dryer, space heater, or other direct heating source, direct the heat onto the pipe. Only use electrical means when it is safe to do so, and when the ground is dry.
For extra protection, plug the appliance into a GFCI protected outlet. Do not use anything with an open flame including a blowtorch or propane or kerosene heater, and don’t use direct heat if the water pipe is near a gas line.
With any of these methods, it’s important to keep an eye on the frozen pipe for any signs of leaking or damage to the pipe that can lead to water damage once the blockage is gone.
The expansion that occurs when water turns to ice can cause pipes to rupture, or can damage seams or seals nearby. If you do experience water damage resulting from a broken pipe, call Regent Restoration at (214) 731-4624.
[lead]Burst water pipes often happen unexpectedly, but it should come as no surprise that they can cause a significant amount of water damage in a very short amount of time. If a burst pipe occurs while you are away from your home, you could come home to several hundred gallons of water in your home.[/lead]
Regular maintenance of your home’s plumbing system, as well as taking preventative measures to prevent frozen pipes, can help reduce your risk of experiencing a burst pipe. Unfortunately, the truth is that every ounce of prevention can’t stop a burst pipe, and nothing can guarantee that it won’t happen to you.
Why Pipes Burst
The most common reason a pipe can burst is due to a pressure buildup caused by a blockage. Both frozen pipes and pipes with some other sort of blockage can result in excessive pressure being built up, causing the weakest part of the water pipe to burst.
Frozen pipes are possible in every part of the country, and many times those who live in warmer climates have pipes that are not insulated. are more susceptible to freezing when the weather gets cold. When water inside a pipe freezes, it expands and blocks the flow of water, potentially causing the water pressure to build inside the pipe, which can then burst. Unobstructed, water from a burst pipe can cause significant flooding and water damage in a very short period of time.
Frozen pipes commonly occur in the attic, basement, or crawlspace of your home where there is little insulation. When the weather gets really cold, pipes running along exterior walls may also freeze. These pipes can be insulated to prevent freezing.
Water Pressure Buildup
If there is a blockage in your water line, water pressure can build up behind the blockage and cause a burst pipe. If you experience a blockage, you will likely notice a significant drop in water pressure at the faucet. You may also hear strange noises or even experience electrical faults.
If you suspect a blockage, you should call a licensed plumber as soon as possible to clear the line before it becomes damaged or bursts. It’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations, as a burst pipe can cause significant water damage to your home.
A burst pipe can result in a small water damage loss if addressed quickly. Depending on where the pipe burst—whether it was in the attic or basement, hidden behind a wall, etc—water may have traveled to other areas of your home or could be trapped in walls or ceilings.
If you hire a professional water damage restoration company like Regent Restoration to perform cleanup, they will identify all the affected areas and take immediate action to extract the water and begin drying. Quick action can reduce your total losses, prevent mold growth, and will help return your home to normal faster.
Frozen pipes are a problem each year for homeowners in Dallas, but the good news is that frozen pipes are largely preventable.
By taking a few simple steps to prevent frozen pipes homeowners can reduce their risk of water damage this winter.
Take a few moments to learn what happens when pipes freeze, which pipes are more susceptible to freezing, and what you can do today to prevent frozen pipes.
What Happens When Pipes Freeze?
To understand why frozen pipes can break and lead to water damage, you must first understand that water expands when it freezes, putting excessive pressure on the surrounding pipe. This can cause the pipe to split, crack, or burst, regardless of the strength of the pipe.
Pipes that are at the greatest risk of freezing are those exposed to extreme cold including outdoor hose bibs, sprinkler or swimming pool supply lines, and pipes in unheated areas likes attics, basements, and garages. Indoor pipes that run along an exterior wall or under cabinets are also subject to freezing in extreme cold.
Frozen Pipe Prevention Tips
In many cases, taking a few simple steps before cold weather sets in can help prevent frozen pipes and the resulting water damage. Here are a few things you should do before cold weather sets in to prevent your pipes from freezing this winter.
1. Drain water from sprinkler supply lines and any other outdoor water supply lines. Also remove, drain, and store any hoses, and shut off the water supply to outdoor hose bibs. Once the water is shut off, open the valve and allow any water to drain, and leave the valve open to allow any water remaining in the pipe to expand without breaking the pipe.2. Insulate any exposed pipes or pipes in unheated or poorly insulated areas of your home to prevent freezing. Remember to check for pipes in the attic, basement, crawl space, garage, as well as under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water supply lines should be insulated. During periods of extreme cold, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow air to circulate around the pipes. Make sure harmful cleaning products are out of reach of children or pets.3. You should always heat your home to at least 55 degrees F, even if you are going away for an extended period. During extreme cold, you may want to keep your thermostat set to daytime temperatures to avoid overnight freezing and a costly repair job.
Dealing with Frozen Pipes in Dallas
Even with all the prevention in the world, extreme weather can lead to frozen pipes and the potential for water damage. Follow the above steps to protect your property from water damage through the prevention of frozen pipes.
If your home does suffer water damage resulting from frozen pipes, Regent Restoration can help. We provide 24/7 emergency response for water damage in Dallas. Our team can help mitigate the loss and return your home to normal quickly. Contact us today.