Frozen pipes in Decatur, Alabama may sound more like a pipe dream than a real potential problem, but it happens more than you would imagine. With recent winter storms and freezing temperatures homeowners are waking up to thousands of dollars worth of damage from frozen pipes. Frozen pipes that fracture become leaky pipes, or worse, burst pipes. The average insurance claim for water damage from burst or frozen pipes is 15 thousand dollars…that is if you have insurance and they cover all the damage. So if your local news is forecasting freezing temperatures it’s best to take preventive steps.
What causes frozen pipes?
Frozen pipes are easy science. When water freezes it expands. When water freezes inside a container is expands against that container causing pressure on the walls. If this expansion happens regularly, or the container is old, than the walls of the container begin to weaken and may fracture or burst. Frozen water can be extremely destructive to a pipe regardless of what the pipe is made of. The most vulnerable pipes are copper pipes. When frozen they easily burst, even spilt right down the center. If a pipe bursts inside your home while you are sleeping you could wake up to a flooded home. In one hour a burst pipe can spill hundreds of gallons of water into your home if you don’t know what to do.
How to prevent your pipes from freezing.
First you need to identify pipes that are most at risk of freezing. Pipes that run outside to hoses, water sprinklers, and swimming pools are obvious culprits. Make sure you follow the manufacturer guidelines when it comes to draining your swimming pool and sprinkler lines and do this before the cold water comes, otherwise, come summer you may be replacing those lines. And before the cold weather creeps up make sure to drain and put away your hoses. Also flush out the hose bibs by first closing the inside valve that supplies the outdoor hose bib, and then leave the outdoor hose bib open so all the water can drain out. Leave the outdoor hose bib open throughout the winter months, this will help prevent water from building up, freezing, and breaking the pipe.
In addition to your outdoor water lines you need to take preventive measure to protect your interior water lines. Any pipes that run along exterior walls are at risk of freezing. Water supply lines in basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and lines that run against exterior walls behind the cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms are also at risk. Here is Decatur, Alabama pipes are often un-insulated or under-insulated. This is a big mistake. If you find an at risk pipe that is un-insulated or under-insulated you can try insulating it yourself using pipe sleeves or heat tape. Or you can call one of our Lamco technicians and they can come out, identify all your at-risk pipes and insulate them in one visit. If you are unable or uninterested in going through your crawl spaces we would highly suggest calling one of our trained Lamco technicians to come out get your home winter ready for the years to come.
Finally, when the weather turns frosty outside and you know we will be getting a cold snap, leave the cabinet and closet doors open so that the warm air from the house can reach those pipes all day and night. However, make sure little ones can’t get to any harmful chemicals or sharp objects. Next, consider leaving a small trickle of water running from both taps in your faucets. Flowing water freezes slower than standing water. And finally, if you leave the house make sure you set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
What to do if your pipes freeze.
If you wake up one Decatur, Alabama morning after a cold snap and try to turn your sink or shower on and there is no water or only a small trickle it probably means you have some frozen pipes. It can be difficult to identify a frozen pipe and once identified it can take a long time to defrost them. Whatever you do don’t ignore the problem. It can take months for a pipe to defrost. If you can locate the frozen pipe you could try a space heater or a heating pad but be careful not to expose electrical appliances to water. Also, never use a blow torch or open flame on a pipe. This can cause irreparable damage to the pipe and even cause it to burst. If you can’t defrost the pipe you should definitely call a reliable plumber like Lamco. It probably means that you have more than one frozen pipe. Here at Lamco we have special video equipment that will help us find the blockage, and special equipment that can safely defrost the pipe within minutes. Lamco is committed to our customer’s satisfaction and we have a cleanliness guarantee. And that’s a good thing…because frozen pipes can be a complicated and messy business.
Finally, if you wake up and find wet or damp drywall or floors, or your household water pressure has dropped, this means one of your pipes may have fractured or burst. Immediately turn off your main water supply and then call a professional or experienced plumber like us, Lamco plumbing, to fix, repair, or replace the burst pipe. Lamco plumbing has been a trusted Decatur plumber for almost thirty years. We have the tools, knowledge, and experience to handle all your plumbing installation, repairs and maintenance. For testimonials, money saving tips, and coupons visit us on the web. And feel free to call us when problems arise or with any questions or concerns.