During the winter months, if you come home to find that water is not dripping from the faucets in your home, it is possible that your pipes have frozen. When pipes aren’t adequately insulated and are left open to the elements, preventing them from freezing can be a difficult task, especially if you live in an area with cold winters. If you take prompt action, you can save money and potentially avoid serious damage to your home from occurring as a result of this typical problem that occurs during the winter.
What Factors Contribute to the Freezing of Pipes?
Even if you winterize your pipes before the first significant chill of the season, there is still a possibility that they will freeze. This is especially true when temperatures are below 20 degrees for several hours. If the water that is contained within a pipe freezes, it will expand, which will ultimately result in the pipe breaking.
The following are the most prevalent causes of a pipe freezing:
- Pipe that is subjected to the elements of the outdoors, such as those used for water sprinklers, outdoor hose bibs, and supply lines for swimming pools.
- pipes that carry water to more temperate environments, such as crawl spaces, kitchen cabinets, garages, basements, and attics.
- pipes having either no insulation at all or very low insulation.
Especially if your pipes are located outside, these places have an increased risk of suffering damage caused by freezing temperatures. When the weather prediction calls for temperatures below freezing, taking additional care to winterize your pipes can help you avoid having pipes that are frozen.
In the event that you discover that one or more of your pipes has frozen, the following advice should help you get the water flowing again.
How to Locate the Pipe That’s Been Frozen?
There is a good chance that you discovered a frozen pipe because of a slow-dripping faucet; nevertheless, there are other instances in which the source may not be so obvious. Other indications that a pipe may be frozen include the following:
- Frost that forms on the surface of a pipe’s outside
- A pipe that has an irregular shape and may be fractured or bulging in particular locations
- A foul odor coming from the faucet as a result of water that has backed up.
- When a faucet is used, there is either no water at all or only a very slow trickle.
- Around the walls or ceilings there should not be any dampness or traces of water damage.
- Sounds of whistling and/or hammering emanating from several pipes
Once you have determined which faucet or faucets are malfunctioning, follow the line leading from each faucet and touch the pipes to locate the portions of the pipe that are the coldest to the touch. It is most likely that the obstruction in the pipe is located in one of these areas.
It is conceivable that if there is a blockage in one pipe, that other pipes are also clogged with ice, so it is important to continue searching even after you locate one area even though you have found one. In circumstances when the frozen region is more severe, you can also discover it by following the pipe until you come across a location that appears swollen or has a rupture in the sidewall. This is another method for locating the frozen area.
Fixing a Pipe That Has Frozen Over
If your pipe has already burst, the best course of action is to switch off your water supply and contact local plumbing experts who specializes in emergency work as soon as possible. Pipes that have burst will require replacement, and the best person to do this work is a plumber because of their training and experience.
Depending on the scope of the work and the location of your home, the hourly charge for a plumber might be anywhere from $300 to $330.