Frozen pipes are not just a December problem for households. The freezing season continues through February and even into March, and until then your pipes are not safe from the shredding ice crystals that can cause them to burst. But a damaged pipe is only the beginning of your concerns. When pipes become damaged, whether by freezing or not, a series of issues around the household plumbing system tends to follow.
Why Do Pipes Burst in the First Place?
It is simple science. The water inside the pipes expands due to the cold. When temperatures reach the freezing point, pressure increases and begin to damage the surrounding material.
The damage starts as simple cracks but with the accumulated pressure, it begins to create breaks that gradually increase the opening causing it to burst.
Factors Affecting Pipes Burst
While one of the most common causes associated with pipe bursts is freezing temperatures, several other factors can contribute to plumbing damage.
Deterioration and Decay
Pipes, whether made from PVC or metal, are often strong enough to withstand the intense cold weather. However, years after being installed, corrosion begins to happen, slowly weakening the material and causing them to be more easily damaged.
As the water begins to freeze due to the cold weather, pressure increases with it. That is why it is vital to normalize water pressure during the cold season. Make sure that before winter comes, your water pressure is adjusted to 60 psi or less.
While the climate is still warm, it would be good to have a professional check on your exposed pipes as well as those located inside the garage or in the basement. There could be damage caused by deterioration or infestation that could lead to catastrophic issues during winter.
Taking a little action beforehand can help prevent costly damage down the line. With a few simple steps and some planning, you can keep your pipes flowing through those cold days and nights.
Insulation & Heat Tape
Using wall insulation or foam pipe insulation is the most efficient way to reduce the possibility of freezing pipes. There’s nothing better than quality insulation to lessen the impact of freezing temperatures, especially around pipes inside the outer wall of your home.
Similar to insulation, heat tapes can be used to lessen the pipe’s exposure to cold temperatures, but they are best used on visible pipes only.
Let it Drip
Letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent a pipe from bursting. This method will provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs. Even a tiny drop can be efficient and is much better than nothing.
Shut-Off the Main Valve & Drain
When you’re away on vacation for an extended period during the winter, you should shut off the main valve and drain your water system. With no water in the pipes, there’s no water to freeze. Just remember to turn on the main tap and let each fixture run until the tubes are full again when you return home.
This solution is probably the most expensive one, but sometimes it’s the only option. In various cases, hiring a professional plumbing service provider to re-route your plumbing away from the colder areas of your home can make all the difference, though we only recommend using this preventive solution as a last resort.
Finding Your Local Plumber
Whether you’re looking for preventative care or someone to take care of a burst pipe, look no further than the expert plumbers at Einstein Pros! Each of our plumbers is specially trained to handle any plumbing emergency that may come their way. Whether you’re in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, or Nevada, our plumbers are ready to help. Contact one of our plumbers near you today and let our team handle the rest!