How to Avoid a Frozen Pipe
Last winter, our plumbers were kept REALLY busy making frozen pipe repairs. Sometimes, the heating lines were just frozen and they could be thawed out with our machines. In other cases, the frozen pipe burst and left customers without heat. Not only is it an inconvenience to be without heat in the middle of winter, it’s an unexpected expense that no one wants to face just after the holidays!
What causes a frozen pipe?
Water expands when it’s frozen. You’ve seen this happen when you fill up an ice cube tray. When you put it into the freezer, the water is level with the tops of the tray. Once the water is frozen, you’ll notice that some of the cubes pop up above the top of the tray. It’s the same principle when a pipe freezes. When water is enclosed inside a pipe, there’s not a lot of room for expansion. Eventually, it’ll push against or find a weak spot in the pipe and “burst” or crack. Once it begins to thaw, water will begin to run again BUT will leak right back out. The water will not be able to continue its travels to and from your boiler. Now, there’s water damage AND no heat.
Tips to avoid a frozen pipe
The key tip here is prevention. If you prepare your home’s plumbing and heating BEFORE winter sets in, you’ll be in good shape. A couple hours on the weekend is a well spent investment to avoid huge plumbing and water remediation bills.
- Check for drafts. If you have any exposed plumbing in a crawl space or windows, make sure there are no drafts and that the pipes are insulated. Even if snow cannot get into the areas, the strong, freezing winds of winter blizzards can.
- Open cabinets. If you have plumbing or heating on outside walls of your home, open your cabinets. You only need to do this when prolonged, below freezing temperatures are in the forecast. Leaving the cabinets open allows the warm air of your home to circulate around the pipes.
- Create a drip. During below-freezing forecasts, leave your faucets running at a drip. It literally only has to be a SLOW DRIP. It won’t run your well dry or run up your water bill. Running the water even that tiny bit allows the water to escape and not build up if it freezes.
- Keep the heat up. Heating bills are every Connecticut homeowner’s nightmare. Some homeowners turn their heat off or very low. We do NOT advise this! We recommend keeping your home heated at 68 degrees. This not only prevents a frozen pipe but is the most energy efficient.
Despite the best intentions and preparations, accidents happen. If you think you have a frozen pipe, we have professional plumbers available 24/7 for emergency heat repairs. Please call 860-228-1036 to schedule service. You will reach a member of our Rapid Service LLC office staff during the day. On weekends and after-hours, you’ll be able to speak to a representative who can contact our plumbing technicians. You will never reach a machine or have your call go unanswered.