Will your pipes freeze this winter?
Winter can feel a bit like going to war against Jack Frost with your house acting as the battleground. What’s worse, old man winter has a dangerous arsenal to throw your way. Snow pileups can collapse your roof, icy conditions keep you trapped indoors, and if the temperature drops low enough, the water in your pipes can freeze solid.
Not all pipes are equally vulnerable to freezing, but any pipe freezing can be catastrophic. Pipes that run through exposed or not insulated areas are especially at risk. Examples include ones located in the basement, crawl space, attic, or garage.
Frozen pipes not only limit plumbing in your house, but also put you at risk for the pipes themselves bursting as the ice expands. Sound like an easy cleanup? It isn’t. A ruptured pipe causes thousands of dollars in property damage and can cut you off from a vital resource.
When a pipe breaks, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is a vital ally in the fight against old man winter. A better practice, however, is to make sure it never gets to that point. You can enlist a professional to evaluate your house, before catastrophe strikes, to make sure it doesn’t.
A few basic actions can take the bite out of Jack Frost’s attack on your pipes. As they say, a good offense is a good defense. Draining the water from hoses, sprinklers, and swimming pool lines is an important first step in preventing freezing. If it is lacking, adding insulation to your house can also protect the pipes in those areas.
Several weapons exist to fight back against Jack Frost. We can provide you with effective countermeasures, the most effective are varieties of pipe specific insulation. They include pipe sleeves, heat tape, or heat cables that can be wrapped around pipes to insulate them from the cold. In a pinch, some homeowners simulate these effects by wrapping newspaper around their pipes.
Additionally, plumbing antifreeze is a product that many employ during the winter. Plumbing antifreeze, a liquid with a lower freezing point than water, is poured into drains to prevent freezing. It is crucial to only use plumbing antifreeze not automotive antifreeze as they have different primary ingredients; plumbing antifreeze is primarily propylene glycol whereas automotive antifreeze is typically composed of the toxic ethylene glycol.
Finally, keep the thermostat to a consistently high temperature even at night or if you are leaving the house. Though it may cost a little more in your electric or heat bill, it can prevent the expensive and messy disaster of broken pipes.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
If you fear that the worst has happened, there are a few distinct signs to look for. Strange sounds or the smell of sewage emanating from your drains is an indication that the pipes are frozen. Plumbing problems, like plugged drains or reduced or stopped flow, are often the first symptom of frozen pipes. This occurs as the ice is inhibiting the basic use of the pipes. Finally, the outside of the pipes themselves are perhaps your most clear indication. If they are covered in frost or bulging out of their normal shape, chances are the water inside is frozen solid.
What to do?
Several home remedies exist to thaw frozen pipes such as using electric hair dryers or heating pads. Anything that applies electric heat to the icy pipe can be considered as a last-ditch remedy.
However, for effective relief, call a professional like Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Many homeowners want to save money, and neglect to call a professional. Frozen pipes are not an area in which its safe to skimp.
Jack Frost’s resources are nearly limitless, but we are more than willing to be your year-round ally. Whether you want some help preventing your pipes from freezing solid or need to be bailed out after the worst has happened, we’ve got your back.
Contact Us for help with frozen pipes and all of your plumbing needs.