How To Keep Pipes From Freezing In The Winter
Homeowners can prevent frozen pipes in the winter with a few simple steps. The main step is to keep warm air flowing throughout your home. You may believe there’s no point in heating rooms that don’t receive a lot of traffic or where you don’t spend an appreciable amount of time, but without warm air circulating throughout your home, you run the risk of frozen pipes in those unheated areas.
Another way to prevent frozen pipes is to leave a faucet on a slow drip when the temperature is below 20 degrees fahrenheit. Letting the faucet drip in this manner will keep ice from forming in your pipes and prevent air from pressurizing.
You can also prevent pipes from freezing by opening up the cabinet doors below your sinks so the area around your plumbing is exposed to warmer air. While you open these cabinet doors, remember to keep your garage doors closed, as garages typically do not have enough insulation to prevent pipes from freezing.
Keep your home’s temperature the same regardless of the time of day and refrain from turning the heat off or too low when you leave the house during the winter. You may save a few dollars on your heating bill but you risk a more expensive fix if your pipes burst while you’re away.
Finally, stop pipes from freezing with insulation, especially in your garage, crawl space, and attic. These exposed pipes are most in danger of freezing during the winter.
HRS Restoration Services is a full service disaster restoration company. We’ve helped homeowners thaw out frozen pipes and mitigate the water damage after a frozen pipe bursts.
Frozen pipes don’t care about your schedule and can burst at any time if the weather is right. Thankfully, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to whatever winter throws your way!
Call HRS Restoration Services if you want to know how to keep pipes from freezing, or if they’ve already burst.
At What Temperature Do Water Pipes Freeze?
Water pipes in your home are most likely to freeze when the outside temperature is 20 degrees or below for an extended period. The answer may also depend on whether your pipes are insulated, where they’re located, and what material they are composed of.
If your pipes are not insulated, or are located in a garage, crawl space, or attic, and are made from copper or steel, they may freeze even faster.
How Long Does It Take For Pipes To Freeze?
Pipes can freeze in as little as six to eight hours if the temperature is 20 degrees or below. Depending on the weather in your area and other variables, the time it takes for pipes to freeze can be unpredictable. Pipes can freeze overnight and are not something to sleep on and hope for the best.
Do Frozen Pipes Always Burst?
Frozen pipes don’t always burst. However, if you don’t know how to protect pipes from freezing in the first place, you are at a disadvantage. Without preventative measures, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures will increase the likelihood of a pipe in your home bursting.
If your pipes are prone to freezing, the stress and strain from past freezes will put even more strain on the joints and confines of the pipes.
Indeed, the more steps you take to avoid frozen pipes in the first place, the better.
How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing
Not everyone knows how to prevent pipes from freezing. After all, it may not be something you need to consider if you live in a relatively warm climate.
But, because weather can be unpredictable, knowing how to prevent freezing pipes is a skill all homeowners should have.
Below we cover tips to avoid pipes freezing in your home.
Insulate The Pipes
Like a down jacket for your pipes, insulation can create a barrier to cold air. However, insulating water pipes does not mean they are impenetrable.
Insulation can help keep the pipe closer to the temperature of the water inside, but it does not add heat and may not be enough to prevent freezing in prolonged sub-zero temperatures.
To start, insulate exposed pipes with fitted foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves as a way to prevent freezing.
Keep Garage Doors Closed
Garages are typically unheated, and any time you leave the garage door open in the winter, you’re taking a chance of freezing any pipes located inside.
That said, never warm up your car in your garage – even with the door open. You not only run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning but you risk your pipes bursting from being exposed to cold air.
Opening the cabinets below your sink is an easy way to ensure the warm air in your home reaches the exposed water pipes beneath. Opening up your cabinets that contain plumbing is a good idea if you are going to bed and the temperature is predicted to dip into freezing.
Opening your cabinet doors is also a good idea if you will be away from home for an extended period and if temperatures are expected to drop.
Let Faucets Drip
Moving water, in this case, a slight drip, can produce enough heat to prevent your pipes from freezing. Determine which pipes are feeding water into your home, select one, and allow it to drip whenever conditions are ripe for freezing.
For instance, if the temperature is 10 degrees or below zero and your pipes are not yet insulated, we recommend letting your faucet drip as a way to potentially prevent a pipe freeze and subsequent burst.
Keep Thermostat Consistent
Remember how your Dad said to keep your hands off the thermostat? Well, turns out he was right. Constantly adjusting your home’s temperature makes your pipes more vulnerable to freezing, whereas keeping a steady temperature doesn’t allow ice to form as easily.
Seal Cracks & Openings
Use caulk or spray foam to seal cracks and openings near windows and door frames. Caulk cracks or holes directly around piping on exterior and interior walls. Cracks can appear over time, so check your basement regularly to ensure new cracks are covered and sealed as soon as possible.
Leave The Heat On
Even if you are away from home for an extended period of time, don’t turn your heat off. Despite saving a few dollars on your heating bill, you will have a far worse problem if your pipes freeze and burst while you are gone.
If you turn your heat off and there’s a cold snap, you will return home to frozen pipes or worse, burst pipes that can lead to water damage, mold, and mildew growth. Leave the heat running at home to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Open Interior Doors
While you may want to close off vents in rooms you don’t utilize, we recommend that you keep your home’s interior doors open. This allows heat to run freely throughout your home and keep a more consistent temperature. Consistency is a good rule of thumb when it comes to temperature, especially when you have no control over the outside temperature.
Seal Crawl Spaces
Because crawl spaces are partially exposed to the outside temperatures, even brief spells of cold weather can result in water pipes freezing. One way to lower your chances of frozen pipes is to Insulate the walls and floor of the crawl space using foam and install a vapor barrier.
Use Heating Tape
If you are able to easily access your water pipes, apply self-insulating heating tape. Heating tape helps retain the heat around your pipes and is an inexpensive product you can easily find at your local home improvement store.
How To Thaw Out And Unfreeze Pipes
If you hear that unmistakable suction sound when you turn on your faucet, chances are your pipes have frozen. You may be able to unfreeze your pipes if you use a few household tools and act quickly. If you can pinpoint where the pipes are frozen, use a hair dryer, heat lamp, or space heater to apply heat directly to the area.
Use caution when using a heat lamp or space heater in a confined space where water may have leaked or could leak if the pipes burst. If you do not have a heating device, apply towels saturated in warm water to quicken the thawing process.
Other low tech methods to thaw out frozen pipes include pouring hot water down the drain and turning up the heat in your home. These methods are not guaranteed to unfreeze your pipes, but they certainly beat the “wait and see” method.
How Long Does It Take To Unfreeze Water Pipes
If you’re wondering “How long does it take to unfreeze water pipes” the answer is:it depends.
It could take under an hour or closer to a day depending on whether the pipes are insulated, the current temperature inside and outside your home, and whether the pipes are exposed or not.
Every situation is different, so the best course of action is to prevent your pipes from freezing in the first place.
What To Do If Your Pipes Burst
If your pipes have burst, there are a few things you should do to lessen the amount of damage. First, you’ll want to limit the water running through your pipes to limit the amount of water damage and mold growth.
Second, you should contact your homeowner’s insurance company to find out what kind of restoration they will cover and to make a timely claim. Next, you should reach out to a full service restoration company like HRS Restoration Services.
We’re equipped to serve your Denver water damage restoration needs. Finally, you will need to remove the water from your house as quickly as possible.
Mold and mildew can form in 24-48 hours and threaten your health and that of your family. Below, we cover the steps of what to do once your pipes have burst.
Shut Off Water Supply
Locate the main water valve in your home and shut off all water flow. Many homes use a ball valve for the main water hookup. When the red valve is pointing away from the pipe, that means it is off. It usually only takes a quarter turn to stop the flow of water with a ball valve.
Call Your Insurance Company
Your homeowners insurance will help cover water damage restoration. Check your individual policy to understand if they will pay for any related plumbing repairs.
Contact A Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
Rather than call a plumber and a separate water damage restoration crew, why not call HRS Restoration Services? We’re a full service disaster restoration company who works with certified contractors and plumbers. One call truly does it all when you call HRS.
Remove Water ASAP
The longer water remains on your floors and in your walls, the more likely it is that you will need to replace hardwood flooring or carpet. Furthermore, mold and mildew can quickly take hold after a water incident, and the resulting mold spores can give rise to serious health effects. HRS has water extraction equipment that can minimize the time it takes to suction water from your home’s interior.
How To Fix & Restore Water Damage
You may be able to repair water damaged areas of your home if the water was confined to a small area, if you have the proper tools, and if you have the know-how required to quickly remove it.
If you have high powered suction tools and your flooring is concrete, the task is relatively straight-forward. However, if you have carpet and the water has already seeped through to the underfloor, we recommend that you call a professional water damage restorer who is trained in extraction and mold remediation.
When To Call For Professional Help
We recommend that you employ a professional water damage restoration company if any of the following scenarios applies:
- Your pipes have burst while you were outside the home. You have no idea how long the water has been in your home and how much of it you are dealing with.
- You or a member of your household has a pre-existing respiratory condition. Mold spores can quickly form and threaten to make any respiratory issues worse.
- Water has penetrated your floors and walls and has caused enough damage that repairs and replacement are the only option.
Why Choose HRS Restoration Services
HRS Restoration Services has been a trusted water damage restorer throughout the Denver metro areas for 25 years. Our customer reviews highly rate our quick response time and 24/7 availability. No matter when disaster strikes, you can call us for information or to schedule an appointment right away!
Call HRS ASAP for more information or to have our crew on site to deal with your frozen pipes.
Contact HRS Restoration Services Today!
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