As the weather gets colder, it is important to consider the health of your pipes. One of the more common – and more frustrating – plumbing issues is a pipe freeze. Frozen pipes can occur in the ground or in the homemaking detection complicated and prevention even more necessary.
Frozen Pipes Can Break And Cause Flooding
Many homeowners’ major concern when it comes to pipeline malfunction is damage to their property. If a pipe becomes frozen, it can break and lead to flooding and water damage both underground outside or inside of a home’s floor or walls. While it may be possible to thaw a frozen pipe before it breaks to prevent harm to your property, often the earliest signs of a pipe freeze come in the form of damage. Ensuring the health of your indoor and outdoor pipes takes different strategies, and the location of the pipe burst prevents unique challenges to homeowners.
Underground And Outdoor Pipe Freezes
Outdoor pipes and those not housed within the insulation of your home are particularly susceptible to freezing. While the majority of underground pipes are placed deep enough to avoid a freeze, the areas near the meter or closer to the surface create a potential weak spot that can be more easily impacted by the weather. These weak spots need particular attention from the homeowners to prevent the damage a burst in one of these areas can cause. External burst pipes can cause flooding, damage to walkways and uneven ground so ensuring your outdoor pipes are properly insulated is key.
Frozen Pipes Inside Your House
A burst pipe in your wall or floor can lead to extensive home damage and necessitate costly repairs. Basements, crawl spaces, attics, and external walls are all vulnerable to freezing if the proper precautions aren’t taken. A burst pipe in your floor can result in warping of the flooring, weak spots, and mold. Wall leaks can lead to bubbling, diminished wall integrity, and mold as well. In fact, if a space isn’t well-ventilated even a repaired pipe can have sown the seeds for mold growth. While insulating indoor pipes is less possible due to their hidden nature, there are many best practices homeowners and renters can take to ensure their internal pipes make it through the winter unscathed.
How To Keep Your Pipes From Freezing:
Prevention is the best care, especially when it comes to your plumbing. There are some short- and long-term strategies that will help prevent frozen pipes and can be employed as soon as the cold season hits.
Ensuring that there is adequate heat throughout your home is a great way to prevent your pipes from freezing. To do this, start by keeping the heater running somewhat throughout the winter – even when you aren’t in the area. Opening doors and setting up fans to circulate the warm air throughout the space will also be helpful in keeping your walls warm.
Creating Airflow In Tight Spaces
Many pipes are located beneath counters and behind cabinets, keeping them neatly hidden from view and, unfortunately, hindering their access to the warmth of the home. By cracking cabinet drawers and vanities – especially those located near sinks or other plumbing – you allow warm air to flow closer to the pipes and reduce their chance of freezing.
Protecting The Space From The Cold
While keeping the windows closed in the cold months may seem like an obvious choice, providing as few access points for the cold air to seep in as possible is key. This includes keeping garage doors closed, ensuring any crawl spaces are sealed and being on the look-out for outside storage doors connected to your home that may be ajar.
Keeping Pipes Warm With Water
One of the most common, and most effective, ways to keep pipes from freezing is using water to keep their internal walls warmer. A slow and consistent drip from a faucet will keep your pipes active, and prevent them from succumbing to below freezing temperatures as the water will be moving too rapidly through the line to harden into ice.
While this is a more in-depth solution if you’ve experienced burst pipes or feel your home is particularly at-risk it may be wise to invest in additional insulation. This includes covering exposed pipes with insulating materials, reinforcing the seals on areas such as basements and crawl spaces, and repairing any worn or broken areas that may have left your pipes exposed.
What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze And Break:
While preventing a burst pipe is your best option, it may not always be possible. If you find yourself with a broken pipe due to a freeze, there are some early steps you can take to minimize the damage.
Step One: Turn Off The Water
When you think a pipe may have burst – whether you suspect this due to flooding, decreased water flow, or the sound of water flowing abnormally in your walls – the first step is to turn off the source of the water. Your water main valve is typically located outside in the vicinity of your water meter, and shutting it down will prevent further damage to your home due to the burst pipe.
Step Two: Check For Electrical Impact
If you find pooling on the ground or bubbling in the walls, the safest next step is to check to ensure no electrical lines will be damaged. Before coming in contact with the water, ensure any live lines are safely out of the way – especially those that are exposed such as outlets or stripped wires. Water exposure can damage your home’s electrical system, exacerbating any problems the burst pipe may have caused. In turn, if electricity is conducted through a pool of water it may make the contact needed for repair and cleanup hazardous.
Step Three: Prevent Water Damage
Depending how extensively your home has been impacted by the frozen pipe burst, you may need to employ a variety of tactics to prevent water damage. Quickly removing the water from the spaces it has leaked into is the best way to prevent warping, mold, and weakened materials. Water vacuums, blow dryers, and towels are all great ways to remove water efficiently so its presence impacts your space as little as possible.
Step Four: Call The Experts
Finding, accessing, and repairing a burst frozen pipe is highly specialized work. If you find yourself with a leak due to freezing, reach out to a water damage restoration contractor as soon as possible. They will be able to assess the damage, repair the line, and get your water up and running again quickly.
As winter approaches in Flagstaff and northern Arizona, it is important to remember to take steps to prevent your pipes to freeze. Frozen pipes can break and cause flooding and water damage in your home- which is never a good thing to come home to. By taking preventive measures like insulting your pipes or letting water run through them, you can keep your pipes functional throughout the winter. If your pipes do manage to burst or crack, Mammoth Restoration will be there to restore and remediate water damage from any flooding that occurred.
Mammoth Restoration is the most trusted name in emergency restoration services celebrating 15 successful years of business in Flagstaff and northern Arizona. Whether you are in need of water damage restoration, water damage repair and cleanup, pack out services, mold remediation services, carpet cleaning, biohazard cleanup, fire damage restoration, restoration and reconstruction, or trauma cleanup, give us a call at (928) 714-0003.
CONTACT MAMMOTH RESTORATION
Mammoth Restoration works with home and business owners throughout Flagstaff and Northern Arizona, insurance companies, the State of Arizona, various law enforcement entities, and other licensed contractors. Call us today for your restoration and remediation needs.
Mammoth Restoration works with home and business owners, insurance companies, the State of Arizona, various law enforcement entities, and other licensed contractors