Why Do Pipes Freeze?While most substances contract when frozen (think – the air in your tires), when water freezes, the molecules expand and the density decreases. Hint: this is why ice floats. Water freezes at 32° F and below, which means the expansion puts stress upon whatever is holding the water — such as your home’s pipes — and can cause the container to break.Normally, exposed plumbing is more prone to freezing and bursting. Water sprinkler lines, outdoor faucets and bibs, swimming pool supply lines and water supply lines in unheated/uninsulated interior areas of the home are most vulnerable. Check your basement/attic/crawl space, as these are the areas you’ll most likely find these pipes.You should also be aware of wind chill. If freezing weather is in the teens, you can expect a one-degree drop in temperature for every two mph of wind.
How to Prevent Pipes From FreezingReview these simple ways to protect your home’s plumbing from freezing temperatures.
- 1. Proper preparation:
- 2. Let Faucets Drip
- 3. Keep Thermostat at a Steady Temp
- 4. Turn Off the Water
- 5. Keep Cabinet Doors Open
How to Thaw Frozen PipesA sure sign that your pipes are frozen — other than a burst pipe — is when you turn on a faucet and only get a trickle of water. There are a number of steps you can take to thaw frozen pipes:
- Keep the faucet running: Allowing water to run through the piping system can cause any accumulated ice to melt. You should notice an increase in the water flow as the melting progresses.
- Apply heat to the pipe: If you are able to locate and access the pipe, wrapping it with an electric heating pad or running a space heater near it can help the frozen water to thaw more quickly. Be sure to apply the heat until full water pressure is restored. Even a hair dryer can serve as an adequate heat source in some cases. You can also use a space heater, but remember, do not leave a heater running unattended, and keep it away from flammable materials.
- Call a licensed plumber: If you’re unable to locate or reach the frozen pipe and running the faucet doesn’t remedy the issue, consider calling an experienced plumber. Haller Enterprises offers a full assortment of reliable, affordable residential plumbing services to homeowners in Central PA and beyond. We can handle any type of plumbing issue – including burst pipes in the middle of the night.