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Dealing With Frozen Water Pipes

Jun 24, 2008
Living in a winter wonderland can be enjoyable with lots of snow for skiing and freezing weather and ice for skating. Cold climates can have their drawbacks as well. For instance, if you live in areas that have freezing temperatures, then you might be familiar with what damage frozen water pipes in your home can do. A sudden or unexpected drop in temperature, especially at night, may catch you off guard if you have not taken the proper precautions to winterize your home's water pipes. Then your winter wonderland can become can become a living nightmare.

It is most unpleasant to deal with frozen water pipes on the outside or underneath your home. When you have water pipes freeze and burst inside the house, it can be downright disastrous. When water is inside pipes and the temperature gets cold enough to cause freezing, the water expands and can crack a pipe. This is not a problem as long as the water is frozen. It can also make a pipe come loose where it has a connection. If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle of water comes out this is a sign that a pipe is frozen. When the temperature rises and the water thaws these pipes can set loose a whole lot of trouble.

Preventing freezing pipes is the key to not having this problem. Pipes that are exposed to very cold temperatures like those underneath your home, in your attic, or outside spigots, can be wrapped with special insulation or heat tape that will help keep the pipes from freezing. Inside your home, leaving cabinet doors open so that heat can get to pipes can also help. Disconnect water hoses and sprinklers outside and shut off their water supply. Drain the pipes of any water left in them.

If you did not take preventative measures to avoid frozen pipes, a lot can go wrong. If you do not know a pipe has frozen and has been damaged, when the frozen water thaws enough to allow water flow to return, this is when unexpected flooding can occur due a burst pipe. Frozen water exerts thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe so it is no wonder that they sometimes break. If you happen to be away from home when this happens, it spells disaster.

If you have a pipe that burst unexpectedly, shut off the valve to that pipe. You may need to shut off all the water to your home. The more quickly you can get the water off, the less flooding there will be. If appliances or any electrical thing is getting wet, turn off the electricity first, then the water. After you get the water off, clean up the flood as quickly as you can to prevent damage to your floors, walls, appliance, cabinets, or furniture.

If plumbing is not your thing, then call one. Hopefully, you only have one pipe that has burst, although, there could be more than one. Inspect all your pipes before turning any water back on and that means underneath your home especially.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
About the Author
Richard Barthallo's experience with his 3 kids has made him a legend in handling wate dama and water disasters. Richard Barthallo is a expert on water damage restoration and has been called in to consult on many broken pipe issues.
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