When water freezes, it expands by up to 10%, which can spell all kinds of problems for your home. Frozen pipes may crack or burst, creating water damage throughout your house. If you can’t access your shut-off valve fast enough to turn off the flow from your water supply, you may even be faced with standing water and mold growth.
Outdoor pipes are especially prone to the frozen pipe problem since they can freeze easily in the cold. If the right steps aren’t taken to winterize hose bibs and prevent frozen pipes, you could be faced with everything from marshy landscaping to foundation damage. Preventing frozen pipes can save you from significant damage and costs this season.
Here at Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we are committed to making life easier for Louisville residents. We want you to know how to keep wall faucets healthy, how to prevent pipes from freezing all season long, and how to take care of thawing frozen pipes after a hard freeze. Read on to learn how to protect your home from serious water damage.
Whenever the temperature outdoors is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, your home is at a higher risk for frozen water lines. Your risk of experiencing frozen pipes goes up dramatically during prolonged cold weather spells since the water inside your pipes will have more time to develop crystals, freeze, and spread.
Supply lines and pipes in some parts of your home are more prone to freezing than others. For instance, water lines deep within the heart of your home where air circulates and lines are used heavily are less likely to freeze, since they may be in rooms that are heated and not exposed to direct cold. On the other hand, exterior lines or plumbing that runs within outdoor walls have the highest risk of freezing, since they are subjected to cooler temperatures.
Outdoor plumbing lines that supply water to spigots are especially prone to damage from freezing water if they aren’t winterized appropriately. Winterize your outdoor pipes before the first hard freeze of the year to prevent a freeze.
Regular Hose Bibs:
Frost-Free Hose Bibs
If you are wondering whether you have a normal hose bib or a frost-free hose bib, consider the age of your home. Frost-free bibs are typically installed in newer homes and are angled downwards to keep water from sitting within the line. Frost-free bibs have water shutoff valves that sit further into the heart of the home, which raises the temperature of any standing water in the line. The entire supply line slopes downward from the interior valve to the faucet, so water is forced out of the faucet if it does freeze and increase water pressure. If you don’t have frost-free bibs in your home but you are concerned about frozen pipes, consider having a plumber upgrade your bibs for you.
You can also prevent frozen pipes when you insulate faucets and supply pipes. Foam hose bib covers are very inexpensive and can be installed over exterior fixtures in minutes to shield the faucet from freezing temperatures.
Pipe insulation sleeves can be placed around any pipes, creating an essential heat barrier between the inside of the pipe and the outside weather. You should use these sleeves to insulate any pipes that run through unheated spaces, such as attics, basements, and crawlspaces. If you have water lines that run inside exterior walls, keep HVAC vents open in those rooms to circulate warm air, and open cabinet doors to keep the walls behind them warm. You can also open the faucets in your home slightly until water trickles to keep water moving all night long, preventing a hard freeze.
If pipes do freeze, the resulting damage can be staggering. When water freezes and expands, it can put pressure on the interior pipe walls, causing swelling and cracks. While you may not notice any problems at first, major water leaks can occur when the water inside the pipe thaws. Sometimes, this damage occurs in an area of a pipe hidden by a wall, creating damage that spreads without your knowledge. This issue is common, accounting for about 20% of all homeowner’s insurance claims. The average cost of a water damage claim stemming from a burst frozen pipe is over $10,000.
If a faucet stops working and you suspect freezing, take these quick steps to thaw the pipe and prevent damage.
Dealing with frozen pipes can be tricky and difficult, but we are always here to help. Here are Jarboe’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we offer 24/7/365 day support for homeowners faced with this common problem. We can spot frozen lines, check for damage, replace burst pipe segments, and even repair leaks within walls. Your home is important, and it deserves the utmost care and attention. Contact us right away if you suspect an issue.