Frozen Pipes? Here's what you should do...
What could be worse than a huge home maintenance problem? How about several big maintenance disasters all at once? This is exactly what can happen when your home’s water pipes freeze. As water freezes, it expands, solidifies and hardens within your pipes making it impossible for water to flow into your home. This can result in burst pipes and leaks which leads to flooding, issues with structural integrity, and the development of mold and mildew. Talk about a wintertime nightmare!
So, how can you tell if your pipes are freezing (or have already frozen)? And what do you do in the event that the pipes are frozen? Today’s post will give you the 411 on dealing with frozen pipes during the cold Colorado winter months.
Signs That Your Pipes are Frozen
Whenever the temperatures outside dip below freezing, it’s important to recognize that your pipes are at risk of freezing. At this point, you should be on high alert and looking out for telltale signs like:
Frost - In some cases, you may actually be able to see frost forming on the outside of your pipes. This is never a good sign for what’s going on inside the pipes. At this point, it’s time to start taking action.
No moving water - If you turn on the water faucet and nothing comes out (or only a slight trickle), there’s a good chance that your pipes are frozen.
Odors - Pay attention to what your nose is telling you. When pipes become partially frozen, the odors going down the drain don’t have anywhere to escape other than the way from which they came.
Burst pipes - The most obvious (and most stressful) sign of frozen pipes is when the pipes actually crack or burst. This can lead to pooling, flooding water and a number of costly headaches for you and your family.
Handling Frozen Pipes
Once you’ve determined that your pipes are frozen, it’s important to take action immediately. Even a seemingly small 1/8-inch crack due to a frozen pipe could cause you to lose 250 gallons of water per day. Knowing how to address frozen pipes will help you avoid potential disaster so that you can stay comfortable all winter long.
Thawing pipes - In the event that your pipes are frozen but have not yet burst, you will need to take steps to thaw the pipe(s) in question. Before beginning the thawing process, be sure to open up the faucet to relieve pressure within the pipes and make it possible for water to escape after thawing. Always begin thawing a pipe on the end closest to the faucet and work your way down so that water has some place to go as it thaws. One common way to thaw pipes is by using a hair dryer. Heat lamps, hot towels, or electrical heating tape can also be used. Please keep in mind that you should NEVER use an open flame to thaw a frozen pipe.
Burst pipes - If your pipe has already erupted or burst, you will need to immediately shut off the main water line into your home. From here, be aware of where any standing water has accumulated. Never walk into a room where electrical outlets or cords have come into contact with pooled water. After ensuring the area is safe (and disconnecting electricity where needed), try to sop up any excess water. Call a trusted water restoration company to assess the damage and to prevent the growth of mold and mildew right away. Mold and structural problems can present themselves within 1-2 days.
Do you need professional help in dealing with the aftermath of frozen pipes? Let the team at Abbotts Fire & Flood take care of your needs. Reach out to us 24/7 and we’ll get you back on track right away.