How to Prevent and React to Frozen Pipes

In Illinois, the temperatures often drop below freezing during the winter season. This can be a concern because you not only need to protect yourself and your family from the frigid weather, but you need to protect your home against it as well.

frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes and major water damageWhen there are freezing temperatures outside, your home’s pipes are vulnerable to becoming frozen. The low temperature causes the water inside of these pipes to turn into ice and as this change in state occurs, the ice expands in size. If the ice becomes large enough, then it will place pressure on the pipes. With enough pressure, the pipe will burst open, spewing water throughout your property and causing major damage.

Even if the pipe doesn’t burst, the pressure from the ice can still be enough to cause a small crack. This crack can cause water to continually leak from the pipe, which will damage the materials surrounding it. Furthermore, the water’s presence will also encourage mold growth, adding on to the potential problems.

You might not be able to stop the freezing cold temperatures, but you can prevent your pipes from freezing in your home.

Refer to the following tips to learn how to prevent pipes from freezing, and what to do if they freeze and burst.

How Can I Prevent Frozen Pipes?

If you can prevent your home’s pipes from freezing up, then you can avoid the mess of burst pipes and the resulting water damage. Use these tips when it’s freezing outside to prevent pipes from becoming frozen.

insulating water pipes to prevent freezing pipes and burst pipesAdd Pipe Insulation

Water pipes that are in vulnerable areas, such as near exterior walls and in crawl spaces, should be insulated to prevent them from freezing. Cover up these pipes with pipe insulation or electrical heat tracing wire. If you cannot find or get either, try wrapping the pipes with fabric or newspaper.

Turn Faucets on to a Drip

One of the easiest things you can do to prevent frozen pipes in your home is to turn all faucets on to a low drip. Although it’s only a small amount of water, this water movement in the pipes will prevent them from freezing up.

You might be concerned about wasting water, but the amount of money you would spend on this dripping water is minimal compared to the amount of money you would spend on fixing burst pipes and water damage.

Let Warm Air Circulate

When working to prevent frozen pipes, do not forget about the water pipes under the sinks in your home. These pipes are often in cabinets, which makes it difficult for these pipes to be warmed up by your home’s heat. To prevent them from becoming too cold, open the cabinet doors. This allows warm air to circulate around these pipes.

Maintain a Proper Interior Temperature

Simply keeping your home warm can make a significant difference in frozen pipe prevention. Any area that has pipes should not have a temperature lower than 40°F, so set your thermostat accordingly. If certain areas are tougher to warm than others, consider using a space heater.

What Should I Do If I Have Frozen Pipes?

If you suspect that your home has frozen pipes, but they have not yet burst, then inspect your pipes immediately. If you notice any frost on your pipes, this is in indication that it is frozen. You can also tell that your home has frozen pipes if no water comes out when you turn on your faucets.

Turn the Water Offturn off main water valve to prevent burst pipes and water damage

If you have burst pipes, then you need to shut the main water valve off. If you have frozen pipes, it’s still a good idea to do this in case there are any cracks. It can be tough to see whether there are cracks until the pipe has been thawed.

Thaw the Pipes

Next, you should thaw the pipe by applying heat to it. But first, turn the faucets on to relieve pressure in the piping system.

Never use an open flame to thaw the frozen pipes. Instead, use a hair dryer, electrical heating tape, a heat lamp, hot towels, or a space heater. If you decide to use a space heater, make sure someone is always around to watch it.

Get Professional Help

If your pipe has cracked or burst open, then you will need to seek professional help to have the pipe repaired and to have the water damage addressed. You should call a plumber to handle the pipe damage, and call a professional water damage restoration service to take care of the water damage.

At ServiceMaster DAK, we can help you in the aftermath of a pipe burst through the water damage restoration services we provide. Our professional technicians will take care of the water damage caused by your home’s frozen pipes or burst pipes. We will assess the damage, extract the excess water and moisture, thoroughly dry the affected areas, and restore the damage. If the water damage also led to mold growth, our professionals can clean that as well.

With our professional help, your home will be restored to its pre-pipe burst condition.

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