Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Tips To Prevent Frozen Pipes From Bursting During The Winter

As you may already know, most of the continental U.S. is experiencing a massive ice storm with record-low temperatures sweeping throughout the country. Clayton Country of Georgia, for instance, saw 0-degree Fahrenheit temperatures, while some of the northern states went well below zero. Chances are you've heard news reporters and radio station hosts talk about the importance of bundling up in weather such as this to avoid frostbite and hypothermia, but a commonly overlooked danger of ice-storm temperatures is the possibility of plumbing pipes freezing and bursting.

Why Do Frozen Pipes Burst?

Going back to the basics of high school chemistry, water expands when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But it's not the actual expanding which causes frozen pipes to bust; instead, it's the pressure that's built up between the ice and unfrozen water. This pressure continues to build up until the pipes are no longer able to handle it, at which point they burst, flooding the surrounding area with a slushy mixture of ice and water.

Depending on where your plumbing pipes are located, a situation where they freeze and burst can be quite expensive. Here's a scenario to consider: you recently renovated your basement, installing hardwood floors, new furniture, etc. However, the winter blast forces your pipes down here to freeze up and burst, essentially ruining all of your hard work. Unfortunately, scenarios like this are all too common, which is why it's important to take the necessary precautions to prevent such instances.

Burst pipe by cynthiacloskey

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes From Bursting

  • Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets to allow the circulation of warm air around the plumbing.
  • Leave your home's central heating running when you leave.
  • Insulate exposed pipes.
  • Let your faucets drip throughout the night.
  • Discretion garden hoses.

Thawing a Frozen Pipe

If one or more of your pipes froze overnight but didn't burst, you should be able to thaw it without suffering any damage to your home. Frozen pipes typically emit a very minimal amount of water with an equally low pressure. If you suspect a freeze is the culprit of your low water pressure, let the faucet run on the hottest setting possible. While the water is running, go and find the pipe in your home and use a hair dryer or heat gun to encourage the ice to melt.

Check out the official Weather.com website for more preventing tips.

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