Frozen Water Pipe Tips
Water damage from a burst pipe is not the way anyone would want to be starting off the New Year!
Sadly though, with the temperatures falling here in Southeast Wisconsin over winter, that is exactly how some folks are going to be starting off their year.
We are going to share a few tips on what you can do today to prevent your pipes from freezing, saving you from potential water damage, along with some tips on what to do if you find that they have already frozen.
First though, we wanted to share a bit on why pipes freeze and how destructive
a burst pipe can be.
Pipes freeze for three main reasons:
- Quick drops in temperatures
- Poor insulation
- Thermostat is set too low
Did you know that a 1/8” crack in a pipe can cause about 250 gallons of water to gush out on a daily basis? Imagine the flooding, the structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold damage that those 250 gallons of water can cause.
Following the three easy tips below should help keep your pipes safe from freezing and water damage.
1. A trickle of hot and cold water may be all you need to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet that is located on an outside wall.
2. Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during the day and overnight. If you typically turn it down lower while sleeping and the temperatures outside continue to plummet, you could be caught off-guard and find yourself with frozen pipes.
3. Open cabinet doors to allow heat to reach un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances that are near exterior walls.
Here are a few risky locations that are more susceptible to frozen pipes:
- Pipes located on an outside wall
- Pipes located under a sink on an outside wall
- Pipes located in an unheated crawlspace
The first thing to do: DON’T PANIC!!! Just because they have frozen doesn’t mean they have burst! Here is what we want you to do:
- If you turn the faucets on, and nothing comes out, leave the faucets on and call a plumber.
- DO NOT USE ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES IN AREAS OF STANDING WATER. You could be electrocuted.
- Do not try and thaw the pipe with a torch or open flame because it could cause fire damage
- Try thawing the frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible and then work your way towards the coldest section of the pipe.
If your pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shut off valve, and leave the water faucets turned on.
In the event you do experience water damage as a result of a burst pipe, we are here to help. You can reach us 24/7 by calling us at: Milwaukee 414-810-3522 or Madison 608-467-3200.