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Frozen Pipes: What to Know

Preventions and Precautions

Freezing temperatures can cause some serious damage to your home, and most of the time it comes in the form of frozen pipes. Every year, millions of families experience major damage to their home from frozen or burst pipes, which can end up being a huge hassle and a lot of money to repair. Here’s what you should know about frozen pipes:

 Why Pipes Freeze

Pipes usually freeze because of a combination of:

1. A sudden drop in temperature
2. Thermostats that are set too low
3. Poor insulation

If pipes freeze, they’re at risk of cracking or bursting, which could cause major damage to your home.

Bursting Pipes

When water freezes, it expands, and if the water in your pipes expands enough, it could cause them to burst. However, it’s not normally the ice that directly causes the pipe to burst. Instead, as the pipe continues to freeze and expand, it creates an increase in downstream water pressure (between the ice and the closed faucet). If this pressure reaches a maximum, it will cause your pipes to burst.

How to Prevent Frozen/Bursting Pipes

If you live in a northern state, make sure your pipes are minimally exposed to cold temperatures by keeping them out of attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls. For pipes that are already laid, fit them with insulation wrapping or insulation sleeves to keep them warm. You can also use heat tape or cables, though use these with caution as they’re more hazardous than insulation.

If your pipes are near open areas like cracks or holes in walls, leaks around dryer vents, or leaks around electrical wiring, make sure you seal the areas with caulking to prevent the pipes from being exposed to cold air.

Extra precautions:

It never hurts to take extra measures to make sure your pipes don’t freeze, such as:

  • Letting your faucets drip overnight to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • Keeping your thermostat at the same temperature during the day and at night, as temperatures at night can drop drastically.
  • Opening cabinet doors where pipes are located to let the warm air flow around them.

If you have any problems with your pipes, don’t hesitate to call the plumbing service experts at Timothy Off. We’re available 24/7 to help solve your problems.

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