Winter is such a wonderful time of year. The snow, the cold, the holidays—there’s so much to love!
But if you live in a part of the world where temperatures drop below freezing, you’re going to have to deal with frozen pipes.
You know how it goes: after a long day of work, you come home to find your faucet has frozen up. You try turning the water on and off—but this only makes things worse. Your water is now leaking everywhere, and you have no idea how to fix it.
If this sounds like a problem you’ve had in the past or would like to avoid in the future, then Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service is here to help.
In this article, we will help you understand why pipes freeze, what happens if your pipes are frozen, and what preventive steps you can take to avoid frozen pipe problems in the future.
Ready to explore? Let’s find out.
Why do pipes freeze?
Have you ever wondered why pipes freeze?
When it comes to plumbing, freezing is probably one of the most common problems homeowners face. It can be extremely frustrating when you are in the middle of washing dishes, taking a shower, or brushing your teeth, and suddenly you hear your water shut off…and then nothing. You might even hear a crackling sound as the water freezes in your pipes.
What causes this? Why do pipes freeze?
Pipes freeze when the temperature of the water inside them drops below the freezing point (32°F or 0°C). Several factors contribute to pipes freezing, including the following:
If it’s cold outside, it’s cold in your house too—and if your pipes aren’t properly insulated, they’ll freeze.
If you have older pipes throughout your house, they may not be insulated as effectively as newer ones would be. In this case, you should consider repiping the whole house to prevent them from freezing in the future.
Lengthy exposure to cold
Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures increases the risk of frozen pipes. If the temperature remains below freezing for an extended period, the heat transfer from the water to the surroundings continues, gradually reducing the water temperature and eventually leading to freezing.
If you have an exterior opening, such as a window or door that has been left open, the cold air can cause your pipes to freeze.
Lack of heat source
If you don’t have any kind of heating system in your home (or if it’s not working), your pipes will be more susceptible to freezing up when it gets cold outside.
Poor water circulation
If the water from your faucet seems to come out at a trickle, or if you have to leave the shower for long periods before it gets hot, this can cause your pipes to freeze.
What happens if your pipes freeze?
If you’re new to the world of home maintenance or just looking for a refresher on why keeping your pipes from freezing is important, you’ve come to the right place.
Pipes are a key part of any home’s infrastructure and are responsible for carrying water from your municipal system into your home. It’s easy to take them for granted—but if they freeze, you could be dealing with some severe damage.
So what happens if your pipes freeze? Here are several things that can happen when your pipes are frozen:
When your pipes freeze, the water inside will expand and crack them. This can lead to a blockage that prevents any more water from getting through your pipes and into your home, which means you’ll have to call someone out to unclog them.
If your pipes are frozen and no longer able to move water through them, there will be an increase in pressure within the pipe itself. This could cause cracks or even burst the pipe entirely!
When water freezes in a pipe, it expands and exerts pressure on the pipe walls. If the pressure becomes great enough, it can break through the pipe wall and flood your home.
Freezing temperatures often cause buildings to settle, resulting in cracks in walls and floors. These cracks could allow water to leak into your home’s foundation and cause structural damage.
Fixing burst pipes or repairing the damage caused by frozen pipes often requires professional plumbing services. This can lead to additional expenses and inconvenience while the repairs are being carried out.
In some cases, frozen pipes may cause the water inside to stagnate. When the pipes thaw, contaminants or bacteria that have accumulated in the stagnant water can enter the plumbing system, compromising water quality and potentially posing health risks.
What to Do with Frozen Pipes?
It’s a problem that many of us dread: frozen pipes. And it’s a problem that can be avoided—with a little planning and preparation. If you’re curious about what to do with frozen pipes, here are some tips:
Identify the frozen pipes
Determine which pipes are frozen. If you notice reduced or no water flows from a specific faucet, it’s likely that the pipes leading to that fixture are frozen.
Once you’ve identified which pipes are frozen, open all of them up so that water can flow freely through them again. It’s important that you open all faucets in the house—not just one or two—as this will help keep water moving through your pipes at all times. This step also helps prevent any damage from occurring as the water thaws out and begins flowing again.
Locate the blockage
This can be tricky, especially if the problem involves multiple pipes. Luckily, there are some simple ways to tell where the blockage is located. First of all, check that your faucets aren’t leaking—if they are, and you can see water coming out of them, then there’s likely a blockage somewhere in your house’s water system. If not, try looking for cracked or broken pipes—this will result in water spilling out around them and freezing when temperatures drop below freezing point (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Finally, listen for noises coming from the walls or floors of your home; these could indicate a leaky pipe somewhere nearby!
Safely apply heat to the frozen section of the pipe. You can use several methods:
- Hairdryer: Direct warm air onto the frozen pipe, starting from the faucet end and working your way toward the blockage. Move the dryer back and forth to distribute heat evenly.
- Hot towels: Wrap hot towels around the frozen pipe. You can soak them in hot water and replace them as they cool down.
- A heat lamp or space heater: Place a heat lamp or space heater near the frozen pipe, keeping it a safe distance away to avoid any fire hazards.
- Heat tape: If you have heat tape specifically designed for pipes, you can wrap it around the frozen section and plug it in to provide regulated heat.
Note: Never use an open flame or propane torch to thaw a pipe, as this can lead to a fire or cause severe damage to the pipe.
Don’t try to fix things yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing—you could make things worse or damage your home even further than before. Instead, call repiping specialists in Winchester, who can help you locate and fix the issue quickly before it gets worse by freezing over completely!
Call a Professional
If you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to be working, then it’s time to call in an expert! A Winchester plumber can tell what needs fixing and how much it will cost before they even start work—which means no surprises at checkout time!
8 Preventive Measures for Pipes this Winter
Winter is the time of year when you’re most likely to have your pipes freeze. That’s because the water in your pipes can freeze if the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
If this happens, your pipes could burst and cause severe damage to your house as well as an expensive repair bill. If you’re looking for ways to prevent this from happening this winter, then here are a few tips on how to prevent pipes in winter:
Insulate exposed pipes.
If you don’t have insulation on your outside walls or attic, consider adding some before temperatures drop below freezing. And remember—if you’re working with an older home where the original insulation may not be doing its job anymore, it might be time for a little update!
Seal air leaks.
Air leaks tend to happen around doors and windows, so ensure those areas are sealed tight before winter sets in. This can also help keep heat inside your home instead of letting it escape through cracks in your walls.
Keep the interior temperature consistent.
If you want to keep your pipes happy and healthy, make sure that the temperature inside your house is consistent. If it’s too hot or too cold, it can cause cracks in the pipe that will allow water to leak out into the walls of your home.
Open cabinet doors.
If you’re worried about keeping your pipes warm, open a cabinet door so air can circulate through there more easily. It’s important to keep them open when there are big temperature changes—like when the sun goes down in the evening or when the sun comes up in the morning. This helps prevent any freezing or condensation problems from occurring inside those cabinets where they might otherwise be trapped if they weren’t opened up regularly throughout the day/night cycle.
Let the faucets drip.
Let them drip and drip and drip until they’re all but falling apart—and then let them drip some more. That way, any water that freezes in your pipes will be distributed throughout the system instead of all in one place, which means less chance of it bursting.
Disconnect outdoor hoses.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to let your garden hose freeze up! Disconnect it from your outside spigot and store it in a protected area where it will not freeze. If you need to use it again this season, just reconnect it when the temperature rises above freezing.
Shut off and drain unused pipes.
If you’re not using the water in a certain pipe or faucet, turn it off and drain out any remaining water. You may want to consider doing this throughout the winter months if you don’t plan to use any of those pipes for several weeks.
Consider heat tape or cables.
If you have an older home with metal pipes and faucets, consider installing heat tape or cables near those areas to prevent freezing from happening in the first place! Heat tape is less expensive than cable but will still help keep your water flowing smoothly when temperatures drop below freezing outside.
Let Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service Help You Prepare for the Winter!
Winter is coming, and with it, the cold.
If you live in Winchester, you know that the winter can be hard on pipes. They freeze and crack, causing costly repairs or replacements.
But you don’t have to deal with this mess. Let Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service help you prepare for the winter! Casco Plumbing And Well Pump Service is a Winchester repiping specialist company that offers a wide range of residential and commercial services, including water heater repair, drain cleaning and replacement, and much more, so that your pipes will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. We’ve been around long enough to know how important it is for us to be responsive and reliable—and we’re committed to giving our customers exactly that.
We offer a range of plumbing services, including:
- Plumbing installation
- Repiping services
- New well pump installation
- Water heater repair and installation
- Leak detection
- Sewer replacement
- And many more
Our team of licensed and skilled Winchester repiping specialists can handle any task, from installing a new water heater to replacing your toilet. And if you’ve got an issue with your well pump? We’ve got that covered too!
We offer affordable pricing and same-day service for all our clients in Winchester—no matter how big or small their plumbing problems. When it comes to plumbing issues, there’s no need to worry about cost or time when you’re working with us.
Our team will come out and do a full assessment of your plumbing system, and then we’ll give you a quote on the best way to fix it (including repiping). This is an investment that pays off—you’ll save money on your energy bills, and you’ll never have to worry about clogged drains or cold showers again!
You’ve already spent so much money on repairs in the past—don’t let another burst pipe be one more thing on your list! Call Winchester Plumbers for Burst Pipes Solutions today at (540) 773-8076 for a free estimate for repiping your entire home!