Can The Water Inside a Pipe Freeze Without it Busting the Pipe?
In a word – Yes. Still, you never want frozen pipes. A busted or leaking pipe will not just create a major problem, it’s likely to cost major money to repair the plumbing, and more for the water damage from it.
There are good ways to keep a pipe from freezing and never get to the chance of it busting the pipe. Here is some info on why pipes burst in very cold weather and some ideas to save you bigger issues this winter.
When a Pipe Freezes, How Does a Pipe Bust?
Water turning to ice expands. When this takes place, it can create a clog in your pipes. Once it’s clogged, pressure continues to grow as long as it’s frozen shut. If a break happens, from a crack and a leak to a full burst pipe, it’s usually between the ice and the faucet. It’s from the pressure having nowhere to go more often than the ice itself. There are some steps which can keep pipes from freezing up, then steps for limiting the chances of a ruptured pipe.
When is it Cold Enough to Worry a Pipe Freeze?
Just because water freezes at 32 degrees doesn’t mean pipes are freezing and breaking whenever it drops to the freezing point.
A great deal depends on where your pipes and plumbing are built. The insulation on the pipes and in the space near them matters a lot too.
In most cases, homebuilders in the north build with their winters in mind. Lots of homes in the south aren’t constructed with below-freezing winters in mind. Northern homes and buildings have better insulation. Pipes built in a home’s interior help prevent freezing and busting. Exterior pipes and faucets are more likely to freeze.
Even with the typical “southern” level of cold defense, outdoors temperatures generally have to fall to 20 degrees or below before the danger of frozen pipes. Still, waiting until the cold is upon you before taking action might be too late. Here are numerous ideas to avoid iced and ruptured pipes. Some are smart to do now before facing rough winter weather.
How to Avoid Frozen Pipes, Busting Pipes
Before it’s cold out, give your pipes help with the following steps:
- Install extra insulation, especially on pipes that are most vulnerable to freezing. This can either be done by using insulation direct on the pipes, or by putting in extra insulation around the pipes. This is specifically true when you are concerned regarding pipes in an attic or cellar, areas that may not have adequate insulation currently. While this aids a great deal, it will not completely safeguard the pipes from cold if you’re facing prolonged freezing temperatures.
- Seal up every one of the cracks, holes, cable outlets and openings where cold air can get to pipes, lines and anywhere that will make your home, including attic, basement, garage, walls and crawlspace, colder.
- Take any hoses off of outside faucets. Turn the water off to the faucets. Then leave the faucets open so any leftover water runs out before it freezes.
- If you don’t or can’t cut the water to outdoor faucets, have them drip. Try to set them at about five drops per minute. Let them drip continuously. You should start this when the temperature falls below 28 degrees and it’s going to stay there and get colder for at least the next four hours.
- You can use towels, paper or foam, anything to wrap, as temporary insulation on exterior faucets and pipes.
- Put your thermostat on the exact same temperature around the clock, nights and days.
There are some suggestions and ideas for in and around the house once the cold has set in. Some will cost a little more but it beats the expense, and even danger, of what a burst pipe can do to your house and family in the middle of bad winter weather.
- Keep your house a little warmer than normal throughout cold nights and days. Set the temperature to the same around the clock. This will keep pipes warmer, too. This may cost you a bit extra in utility costs, however it will certainly be better than the trouble and cost of ruptured pipes. You might have never thought about it, but this keeps pipes in your house warmer. It also keeps flooring warmer, which effects the crawlspace and any pipes or lines in the crawlspace, keeping them a few degrees warmer.
- Open the cabinet doors anywhere you have a sink, pipes and plumbing equipment in kitchens, bathrooms or work areas. This lets warmer air circulate better into these spaces.
- On the other hand, make sure you keep garage doors closed to the outside throughout the cold weather.
- Inside the house, you should keep doors to rooms open as much as possible. This lets warm air circulate better and your heating system is more efficient.
- If you’ve got rooms that are normally cooler than others, you can use a fan to direct heat toward the walls and floors where you have pipes.
- A lot of people know letting faucets or taps drip when it goes below freezing. It helps keep pipes from freezing. But, why? Why does this work? When the water can keep moving, it’s less likely it will freeze. If the pipes don’t freeze, the pressure stays ok. Even it there is some ice, if their not a clog and the pressure is normal, you’re less likely to have a burst pipe.
South End Plumbing specializes in repiping services and emergeny plumbing services, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in leak detection – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.