How To Help Prevent Water Damage From Frozen Pipes
How to Help Prevent Water Damage From Frozen Pipes
- Locate and close the main water shutoff valve as soon as possible and before temperatures rise above freezing.
- Inspect pipes for damage, including those in attics and crawl spaces, where it is safe to do so.
- As temperatures increase above freezing, watch and listen for signs of water leaks.
- If a pipe is leaking, do not turn on the water. Open all faucets including those outside to drain remaining water from pipes and call a licensed plumber for repairs.
- If no leaks are detected, turn water back on slowly. Continue to check for leaks before turning water on completely.
- Never use torches or heat guns to facilitate thawing as these can create fire hazards.
Why is a Frozen Pipe a Concern?
When water begins to freeze, it expands. This can cause both plastic and metal pipes to burst, possibly leading to significant water damage to your home.
- Since water expands when it freezes, it puts unwanted pressure on pipes.
- As water freezes, the force exerted from the expansion can cause a pipe to burst, regardless of the strength of the material.
You may not know you have a burst pipe as the water has turned to ice. Once the temperature starts to warm and thawing begins, leaking and flooding can occur.
Which Pipes Are Most at Risk?
Pipes that are most exposed to the elements, including those outdoors and along the exterior walls of your home, may need extra protection during winter months. These include the following:
- Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.
- Swimming pool supply lines.
- Lawn sprinkler lines.
- Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
- Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation.