Be careful of that unexpected cold snap or the impending deep freeze. Frozen water pipes are a serious threat during the cold winter weather months. Freezing water in a pipe expands and can bring to bear pressures in excess of 2,000 pounds per square inch. Pressures in this range are enough to burst/rupture almost any pipe that is filled with water that provides no place for the ice to expand.
A burst pipe can discharge hundreds of gallons of water per hour, equating to large dollar water loss claims due to extensive water damage. This can be a bitter pill to swallow when considering how easy it is to prevent frozen water pipes.
Pipes susceptible to freezing when located in areas such as:
- Exterior walls
- Under a sink in the proximity of an exterior wall
- Unheated crawlspaces
- Mechanical rooms with open louvers exposing piping to outside temperatures
Preventing Frozen Pipes
These are a few ideas that can assist with preventing frozen pipes:
- Let the interior faucet drip slightly, dripping water will assist with keeping water in the pipe from freezing in most instances.
- Leave cabinet doors under sinks open and let room air circulate into the area.
- Place a small portable heater near or in proximity of piping that may be prone to freezing.
- Install electrical heat trace tape on piping that may be prone to freezing conditions.
- Have heaters installed in crawl spaces, garages, storage areas, and other areas with exposed water piping. Maintaining these areas at 40ºF will help prevent most frozen pipes.
- Remove garden hoses from exterior sill cocks/hose bibbs. Removing any hoses and turning off the water supply, where possible, will assist with averting the major risk of water damage done by a burst frozen piping located on exterior walls.