There’s no place like home to keep us warm. During colder months and snow, all we care about is to snug ourselves to something warm, keep the fireplace burning, wear in thick clothes, and drink hot tea or coffee. Perhaps, this is all about making the body warm. How about our home?
Our shelter is an essential place of refuge during calamities and winter months. Homeowners overlook to make this place safe to keep us away from the ravage of disasters. However, some neglect, for example, the pipes, that during winter, they could burst, so they need protection too.
What can we do?
A little bit of Science
When water freezes, it expands. And it can burst pipe. The ice formed can serve as blockage, thus causing more pressure on the pipe. When the ice thaws when warm weather arrives, it will cause the pipes to explode. A small crack can spill hundreds of gallons of water. Insurance companies will tell you that such damage costs an estimated but whopping several thousands of dollars!
The pipe’s elbow is a popular point to freeze. So when it is exposed, you sure know what’s going to happen next. Do not leave the weakest part (which is the elbow) exposed.
Let us say you forgot to insulate. You wake up in the morning and reach for the faucet, and no water. This means you got a frozen pipe.
Do the following:
- Leave the faucet open
- Proceed to the place where you suspect the freezing on the pipe occurred and apply some temperature
- If the frozen pipe is in the kitchen cabinet, open the cabinet and let air in
- Go to the point of the pipe where it is frozen and use a blower to heat the pipe in a slow fashion and with minimal heat (never use an open flame on near the outside wall)
- The professional plumber will use a pipe thawing machine, where the frozen pipe is clamped. While clamped, electricity is applied to spread the heat along the pipe.
How pipes freeze
The water inside the pipe freezes when it’s cold outside. When it expands, it creates extreme pressure. The problem of a cracked pipe is caused by the ice that has formed. Even a few inches of a crack on the pipe will cause the water to spill, making damage on your home and property.
Instead of curling up in your couch while sipping a warm tea, you have an enormous job to do!
- Insulate the pipes—Make sure the pipes in your home are not exposed, even if it is not freezing. The best way to protect the pipe from bursting is to snug it with foam. Wrap it around with foam insulation. The thickness of the foam should be sufficient enough on the size of the pipe. Never leave the pipe junction exposed, as this point is more prone to freeze. If you haven’t purchased a foam, a heating tape will do or heat cables.
- Keep your faucets open—This tip does not intend to waste water if you let a dripping faucet overnight. However, during cold months, just a little bit of an opening of the faucet for the water to drip is healthy for the pipes. Imagine the water that stays within the frozen pipes for long; it’s going to ruin the pipe due to high pressure. When you let the water drip, the pressure is minimised.
- Cault vents—During harsh weather, it is instinct for us to check and prep our homes to prevent us from the damage of different parts of the house. This includes the roof, ceiling, cracked walls and windows, clogged gutters, exposed electrical wiring, and the pipes. When we suspect a leak, we seal it up using a caulking gun. This is helpful to keep your pipe from exploding in case there is any air or water leak present.
- Don’t lock up air—Let the air circulate within your home by opening the doors and keep them as they are. In its way, the air or heat will reach the pipes, preventing them from freezing. However, never leave the garage door open as this is the gateway to your home’s exterior where cold wind, air, and water would come in. It would be useless to follow the simple steps if you forget the garage door, where cold air could easily slide in and travel. You’ll never have extra protection for the pipes.
- Shut off the main water valve—By turning off the main source of water, it will help you prevent more water from filling in the pipes and more reason for pipes to freeze. Drain the water, including the hose that hooks to your garden.
The last thing you will ever wish for is to flood your place when the ice finally thaws. Keep your home from this kind of a mess, and you know what flooding can do further.
For more helpful tips on plumbing, call the experts! Our experienced plumbers are skilled to suspect any problem in your pipeline. Have us inspect your place, and you will be guaranteed of a job well done. Here at Plumbers Portsmouth, we prioritise our clients’ concerns.