5 Solid Tips to Prevent Damage from Water Pipes in Extremely Cold Weather
The extreme cold in recent times brings it with a severe risk for homeowners.
17:54 07 February 2019
Frozen water pipes especially those located in unheated interiors and those running against exterior walls such as pipes bringing water in from a public water supply system.
In this article we will be taking a look at what needs to be done to fix frozen pipes and a few safety precautions, but before that let’s take a moment to understand why pipes freeze.
Water has this unique tendency to expand when exposed to freezing cold weather, thereby putting enormous pressure on pipes. For example, water pressure under normal conditions hovers around 40 pounds per square inch, but it could escalate to 40,000 pounds per square inch when the pipe is frozen. At such an alarming level, water pressure can cause those pipes to break resulting in a burst, no matter whether it is a high-strength metal or ordinary plastic pipe containing the water.
In order to prevent damage caused by frozen pipes and ward off any potential problem, here are a few pointers.
- Identify where the main shutoff valve is and make sure it is working fine in the event of any emergency. Turn off the supply as soon as you located a frozen pipe to minimize the extent of damage caused. Don’t apply too much pressure and use brute force to shut off the valve, if it is stuck and doesn’t move.
- Leave a small stream of water running in the faucet even if it’s a trickle, just to keep the water running through the pipe. It melts the ice buildup inside the pipe, making it less likely for pipes to freeze.
- Installation of specific products (to insulate water pipes) such as a heat cable or heat tape could provide a bit of protection to pipes in extremely cold weather. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to the T while installing these products.
- Keep the thermostat in your house set at the same temperature during daytime and nighttime. Make sure you keep open cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathroom for warmer air to circulate around the water pipes. Note: It may push up heating costs but you can avoid paying for a costly repair job in case your pipes explode.
- If you’ve located the section of the pipe that’s frozen and if it’s accessible, you can wrap hot towels around the pipes or use a hair dryer to apply heat to that area. Never try to thaw frozen pipes with a propane heater or stove or blow torch. When you use any of these, the water in the pipe starts to boil and might cause an explosion, presenting a serious fire hazard.
If your pipes end up freezing in spite of these safety precautions and you’re unsure what to do next, don’t panic and call a plumber.
Finally, if your home has a bit of history with frozen pipes especially in extreme winter and windy conditions, think long term and install a reliable freeze protection system like the Retro-Line, which comes with the advanced self-regulating technology. Designed to guard against freezing, Retro-Line from Heat-Line provides superior protection for potable water supply pipes and sump pump line systems, and comes complete with the essential plumbing parts and heat tracing components for simple and quick installation. For more information on installation or pricing, get in touch with their team today.