Living in Colorado, frozen pipes are almost inevitable. This article is a primer on why pipes freeze, the things you can do to protect exposed pipes, preventing frozen pipes on cold nights, and how to thaw pipes if all else fails.
Why do pipes freeze? When water freezes, it expands. And whether your pipes are plastic or metal, it doesn’t make much difference – expanding water causes pipes to break. The most likely pipes to freeze are those that are exposed to the severe cold, like outdoor faucets, basement pipes, pipes without insulation or those within garage spaces.
How can you protect your pipes from freezing? There are things you can do to protect your pipes.
- If you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool or water sprinkler lines, drain the water from the lines.
- Outdoor hoses should be removed and stored indoors. Close the inside water supply to these outdoor faucets.
- Consider adding insulation to basements, attics and garages.
- Take time to investigate indoor water supply areas that might be subject to cold temps – places like under cabinets and garage areas.
- You can also insulate pipes with a pipe sleeve or even newspaper.
How do you prevent frozen pipes? There are a few things you can do around the house when the weather reaches arctic temps. Follow these tips:
- Keep the garage doors closed.
- Open kitchen cabinets – the warm interior temperature may help prevent any frozen pipes.
- At very cold temperatures, you may want to turn on the water so it causes a very small trickle at the faucet.
- You might want to push the thermostat up a degree or two. It may cost a little more, but it’s still more economical than dealing with a water disaster. This is especially important if you are going to be away for a while.
How to thaw frozen pipes. When all else fails and you suspect your pipes are beginning to freeze, follow these guidelines. First, keep the faucet open. As you treat the pipe, water running through the pipe will help melt any ice. Apply heat to the pipe using a heating pad, hair dryer or portable space heater. You can also wrap the pipe in towels soaked with hot water. Do NOT use a blowtorch or open flame device to thaw your pipes. Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. And if you can’t thaw a pipe, call a plumber.
We hope you avoid frozen pipes this winter, but if the worse happens, call us immediately. Restoration 1 of West Denver is known for its quick response to life’s emergencies.