The days are finally longer and spring bulbs are showing signs that warmer weather is almost here. It’s a common time for year for homeowners to hook up their hoses again, believing the hard freezes have been left behind in winter’s past. Spring weather can be unpredictable. A cold snap can suddenly follow a warm one. Pipes can freeze because water is compressible and inside a pipe, as the water expands, it has nowhere to go except out through the pipe’s weakest point which is often at a fitting or a hairline crack. If you are one of these hopeful homeowners, here’s what you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing and some simple steps you can take if you think your plumbing pipes have frozen:
Check Pipes On Outside Walls
Outdoor faucets that pipe through an insulated wall aren’t as likely to freeze as fast as faucets on non-insulated walls such as garage walls. Also check to make sure you have disconnected any hoses as even a small amount of water can cause trouble. Double-check pipes you can access have insulation in tact around every visible aspect of the pipe. If not, get to your hardware store and buy foam pipe insulation tubes. The higher the R value, the better the insulation. These tubes come pre-slit so they easily side around pipes. Make sure to cover every inch of the pipe, making miter-style cuts as needed to cover corners. Recheck these in the fall to make sure none have fallen off or become damaged.
Turn On A Faucet Or Several
Turn on outdoor faucets to just a trickle. You should also turn on an indoor faucet too, preferably both a hot and cold faucet, and leave them on during freezing temperatures.
If your pipes are located in a space you can access, such as the interior of a garage or basement, use a space heater to warm up the pipes and keep the water flowing. Just remember not to use any gas heat such as a kerosene or propane inside as these types of heaters emit carbon dioxide which when inhaled in non-ventilated spaces can be deadly.
The easiest way to keep pipes warm is to allow warm air to easily access them. Keep interior doors and all kitchen, bathroom, and laundry cabinets open to allow warm air to circulate.
But what steps should you take if you think you are too late for preventative measures? What is you suspect you already have frozen pipes?
Turn On All Faucets
If water doesn’t flow from any faucet, inside or out, call a plumber immediately. It’s important to determine if the problem is widespread or localized. Your plumber will want to know which faucets are working or not. You may need to turn off the main water valve or a valve feeding a particular pipe. It’s a good idea to know where these valves are long before an emergency.
Check For Bulges
Look for places along the pipe where the pipe appears to have swollen. If you notice this, shut off the water line to that pipe and keep the faucet open. It’s possible your pipe is frozen but doesn’t show any signs such as a bulge or crack. If you suspect this, you can confirm it by tapping the pipe lightly with a hard object, such as a hammer or wrench, and listening for a solid versus hollow sound.
Attempt To Thaw The Pipe
Like preventative measures, you can try to that a pipe you suspect has frozen using a hair dryer or warm towels. PVC pipes can be easily damaged by high heat sources so stick to a hair dryer only for these. Again, take care to not use any gas heat or any high heat device such as a blow torch. If at any point the pipe bursts or water pours out from any fitting, unplug the heating device immediately and contact your plumber.
Adding salt to frozen drains has the same effect as adding salt to frozen roads; Salt melts the freezing point of ice. You can try to mix the salt with warm water before pouring it into your drain. Just take care not to use boiling hot water or the extreme temperature difference might cause your pipes to burst.
Frozen Water Pipes Coplay PA
If you experience a bursting pipe, odds are you won’t want a repeat performance. As your plumbing expert about whether an monitored automatic excess flow switch would be a good option for your home. There are products that can automatically shut off your water supply should a leak or burst occur. These units ensure water flow and provide real-time data on usage. Another option for preventing freezing pipes is to ask your plumber about whether it’s possible to relocate your vulnerable pipes or if other forms of insulation would help prevent another catastrophe in future winters.
The best way to prevent frozen water pipes and possibly a pipe burst, is by being proactive. Know the outdoor temperature. Insulate your pipes. However, your best bet is to call a plumber. A plumbing expert will be able to see what is going on and let you know what the best course of action is. Also, if you need frozen pipe repair, then it is important that you get it addressed right away. Contact Robinson Plumbing for trusted, affordable, and experienced plumbing services. Our certified plumbing experts will get the job done quickly and accurately. Give us a call today.
We service Allentown PA 18101, Catasauqua PA 18032, Coplay PA 18037, Laurys Station PA 18059, Lehigh Valley PA 18001, Northampton PA 18067, Whitehall PA 18052 and surrounding areas in Lehigh Valley, PA.