Water expands when it freezes. During a cold Ohio winter, that can mean trouble if a water pipe in your home freezes and bursts. Water freezing in plastic or copper pipes can exert over 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. A burst pipe will spill several hundred gallons of water per hour and that can add up to thousands of dollars of damage to your home.
What can you do to prevent frozen/burst pipes?
There are some things you can do to help prevent your pipes from freezing.
- Exposed pipes are more susceptible to freezing. Insulate pipes in your home’s attic and crawlspace. The more insulation you use, the more your pipes will be protected.
- Heat tape can be used to wrap pipes.
- Seal any leaks that can cause air to come inside near where pipes are located. Check for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Keep cold air out by using caulk or insulation to seal leaks. Remember that even a tiny leak can let in enough cold air to cause pipes to freeze.
- Make sure garden hoses are removed from of all your faucets. If possible, shut off water at the inside valve and drain water from the pipes.
- Let a trickle of hot cold water drip from faucets located on an outside wall.
- Don’t turn your thermostat down at night. You may be in the habit of turning down the temperature when you’re asleep, but drops in the temperature could freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks on outside walls to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes.
For those Snow Birds who leave Ohio in the winter to head for warmer climates, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your home avoids a disaster from burst pipes.
- Set your home’s thermostat no lower than 55°F.
- Have a friend or neighbor check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing and to check to make sure freezing temperatures haven’t already caused damage.
- Shut off and drain the water in your home’s plumbing. Remember that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your home, it may be deactivated by shutting off the water.
What do you do if your pipes do freeze?
- If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, that’s a pretty good indication that you have frozen or burst pipes. Leave the faucets turned on and call us to have one of our experienced plumbers come assess the pipes and make necessary repairs.