Air pipes

It’s the season of frozen pipes

PARK CITY, Utah – Frozen pipes can be a problem that can prevent costly damage throughout the season. The government agency that oversees Utah counties has the following helpful tips and tricks.

Water has a unique property in that it expands when it freezes. This expansion puts enormous pressure on everything that contains it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter how strong a container is, the expansion of water can cause pipes to rupture, posing a major risk of water damage during the winter months. When water invades, it seeps into every crevice and crack and causes thousands of dollars in damage to clean and repair, and even opens the door for mold and mildew growth.

Pipes can freeze when temperatures drop rapidly or stay below freezing (32 ° Fahrenheit / 0 ° Celsius) for an extended period. Once a pipe freezes and has expanded, it can break and cause flooding. When it comes to severe winter threats, frozen pipes are one of the most dangerous and costly problems.

Hoses that freeze most often are exposed to severe cold, such as exterior bibs, pool supply lines, and garden hoses; water supply pipes in unheated indoor areas such as basements and crawl spaces, attics or garages; and pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

Frozen pipes – and the problems they cause – can be avoided by following a few basic steps:

  1. Prepare for a potential disaster by first identifying the location of your plumbing pipes and locating the water shutoff valves. Always make sure you have easy access to the main water shutoff in an emergency.
  2. All exterior water lines (i.e. sprinkler systems) should be completely drained in the fall so that there is no more moisture inside to expand at temperatures freezing. Remove and drain the hoses and close the valves on the outer mud flaps.
  3. Water lines in unheated exterior walls, basements, crawl spaces, or garages should be well insulated with sleeve-type insulation to help keep temperatures above 32 degrees Fahrenheit and prevent gel. It will also help your pipes if you make sure that all rooms are properly insulated and that any openings in windows and leaky doors are closed to prevent strong drafts.
  4. Otherwise, throughout the winter season, you may want to consider running a few taps in the colder areas where the pipes would likely freeze just enough to let out a trickle of water. By keeping the faucets open, the flowing water helps prevent the pipes from freezing.
  5. The main thing is to make sure that your pipes stay warm enough throughout the winter, which means keeping the cold air outside or bringing warm air to your cold pipes. Plumbing that runs along an exterior wall through an under-sink cabinet in the kitchen, for example, will be cooler if you keep the cabinet doors closed. Leave them slightly ajar, however, and they will be warmed up along with the rest of the room while your HVAC system is running.

If the pipes do freeze, there are steps you can take to minimize water damage:

  1. Find the frozen pipe by turning on each faucet to see which, if any, only produces a trickle of water – this is a sign of a frozen pipe somewhere between the faucet and the water source. Starting with the plumbing closest to the faucet, move away from the line and feel every few feet for the cooler pipes, which will likely hold the freezing blockage. And remember: if a pipe has frozen, it means that others may be sensitive as well. To be sure, check all the faucets.
  2. Shut off the water supply at the location of the frozen pipes (or, if easier, the entire building). When the frozen blockage finally thaws, it can let out any extra liquid that has built up behind it and cause a surprise leak, so grab a bucket, some towels, and maybe a mop to prepare for the icy water squirting out.
  3. Drain any remaining water in the building by turning on each faucet in every sink, shower, and tub and flushing the toilet once.
  4. Apply heat to the frozen sections of the pipe using an electric heating pad, hair dryer, or portable heater until full water pressure is restored. Warm the edge of the area closest to the nearest outlet in the plumbing – such as in the kitchen or bathroom – so that steam or water can easily escape. A radiator can also do the trick to concentrate heat where it’s needed. Never use a torch, propane heater, or other open flames.
  5. When turning the water back on throughout the building through the main water supply valve, be on the lookout for leaks – if you spot any, you will need to shut off the water supply again and schedule repairs as soon as possible. . Close any valves and faucets left open from step 1. If your frozen pipes appear to be completely thawed, re-focus your energy on the preventative measures you can take on your own to avoid such a serious situation as the. to come up.

If you come across frozen or broken pipes, take photos of the damage, which will make processing any insurance claims easier and helpful. Counties have the power to immediately call a restoration company (i.e. Utah Disaster Kleanup) to mitigate their damage.