What To Do About Frozen Pipes

If you live in a cold climate, frozen pipes are one of your biggest risks as a homeowner. With just a little inattention, you could flood your home or end up with a costly water leak. Here's what you can do to stop this.

What Causes Frozen Pipes?

Frozen pipes work the same way your ice cubes do. Water sitting in freezing temperatures freezes. What you may not have realized is that the water in your pipes is just sitting there when you're not using it. The water in the city water mains is constantly moving, but each pipe leading up to your faucet is a dead end, and when the water has nowhere to come out, it stops.

That's why you always hear experts telling you to leave your faucets dripping when temperatures drop below freezing. Even a slow drip can be enough to keep the water moving so it doesn't freeze.

Why Are Frozen Pipes So Bad?

When water freezes, it expands. Think about what happens when you leave a full water bottle in your freezer. With pipes, there's no plastic to expand or cap to pop off. The result of a frozen pipe is the pipe itself cracking or one of the joints coming off.

The broken pipe can be an expensive repair by itself. The real problem, though, is if you don't realize your pipe broke until the water thaws. You'll have a non-stop flow of water coming out of the hole, wherever it is, just as if you left your bathtub running.

What Stops Frozen Pipes?

Running water and insulation are the two keys to avoiding frozen pipes. Running water freezes at much lower temperatures, and your pipes rarely get cold enough to freeze water in its tracks. You can keep the stopped water from freezing by adding insulation. You'll notice that most frozen pipes happen in places like basements instead of underground. That's because basement pipes are exposed to cold air, while the ground provides natural insulation. Adding insulation where there is none keeps the cold air away from your pipes.

What Do You Do if You Think Your Pipes Froze?

If you think you have frozen pipes, turn your water off at the main to prevent flooding. Don't turn the water back on until you have a plumber inspect your system.

If you want to help guard your pipes against freezing or think your pipes might have frozen, contact Bud's Heating & Air Conditioning  today.