Frozen pipes are a potential concern for any homeowner living in a region with cold winters. Whether you are at home or away on a trip, frozen pipes can result in serious flooding that results in costly repairs and numerous headaches.
How Water Freezes in Pipes
As one might expect, water can freeze in pipes whenever the air temperatures around the pipes reaches the freezing mark. Factors such as insulation, heating, and location of pipes can all affect when the water in the pipes drops below a critical temperature.
When water freezes, it expands. If enough water freezes in your pipes, pressure will build up “downstream” toward your faucets. If the pressure reaches a certain point, the pipe can burst and cause flooding.
How to Prevent Freezing
Preparation is the best solution for frozen pipe worries. There are a few things you can do before or even during the winter to minimize your chances of problems:
- Insulation: The pipes in your crawlspaces, basement and attic are typically the most vulnerable to freezing. Insulating these pipes will keep the cold out.
- Seal air leaks: air leaks are not just bad for your heating bills; if there are any leaks near your water pipes, that cold infiltrating air can contribute to freezing.
- Disconnect: One common source of water that freezes in pipes is from a hose. Shut off the water that goes to outside faucets and disconnect all your hoses.
- Let water drip from your taps overnight during especially old weather. This will help relieve pressure in the pipes, plus moving water doesn’t freeze as quickly.
- Don’t turn your thermostat down too much at night during extremely frigid weather.
- Open doors to cabinets that contain pipes. The heat will help prevent pipes under sinks from freezing.
If you have any questions about dealing with frozen pipes in your home and need professional help, please contact Ernst Heating & Cooling. We serve the communities of Southwest Illinois, including Glen Carbon, Bethalto and Maryville.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about frozen pipes and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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