Long-Term Plumbing Problems from Unexpected Freezing

Not all plumbing problems from unexpected freezing weather are immediately noticed. In areas unaccustomed to cold weather, many homeowners may have frozen or burst pipes during the cold snap. These usually cause major leaks and flooding that require emergency plumbing repairs. But there may be other long-term plumbing problems that could cause problems down the road.

Outdoor Spickets

Outdoor spickets that were not covered or insulated during the freezing weather may have had water freeze in the pipes. This can cause small cracks that may not cause issues until the spicket is used. Once the cold weather is gone, check outdoor spickets for leaks.

Pipes in Garages or Crawl Spaces

Like outdoor spickets, pipes in unheated areas like the garage or crawl space could have damage from freezing. Inspect these pipes and look for small leaks that need repair.

Sewer Lines and Septic Equipment

Pipes and septic equipment underground can be damaged from freezing. It is important to look for signs of underground leaks or sewer line problems. Wet spots, soil erosion or bad odors in the yard near sewer lines, septic tanks or drain fields could alert homeowners of pipe damage.

Irrigation, Pools and Other Outdoor Plumbing Fixtures

Any outdoor plumbing that was not completely drained and prepared for cold weather could be damaged during freezing weather. Inspect all pumps and equipment for damage when it is time to start using pools, spas, water features and irrigation systems.

Many people may not realize they did have damage to their water line from unexpected cold spells during the winter until spring. It is important to watch for signs of issues and call an experienced plumber if repairs are needed.

Posted on behalf of:
Kiddco Plumbing, Inc.
106-M Oakgrove Road
Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 435-4441

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes

Burst water pipes from cold weather are not just a problem in the colder regions of the country. In fact, homes in warmer regions can be at higher risk for frozen water pipes due to lack of preparation for unexpected cold weather. Even areas in the deep south have had freezing temperatures in recent years, making it necessary to plan for the possibility of a cold snap wherever you live.

Insulating Your Plumbing

In cold areas of the country, plumbing is wrapped and insulated to help prevent frozen pipes. Even with insulation, pipes burst when there is no heat in buildings or structures with plumbing that is active. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are rare, you should inspect your plumbing. Especially check pipes that are:

  • Under the house or in crawl spaces
  • In attics
  • In garages or rooms without heat
  • Part of your outdoor plumbing

Hardware or home improvement stores have insulation for plumbing that can help protect your pipes. This extra layer of protection can prevent thousands of dollars of damage to your plumbing if you get hit with a cold snap.

Keep Pipes Warm

Even pipes inside can burst if not kept warm. Remember to keep the heat on in your home if cold weather is moving in. If you are out of town, call a relative or neighbor that can access your home and turn on the heat to avoid frozen pipes.

Even with preparation, if the weather turns very cold, you can experience frozen water pipes. As soon as possible, turn off the main water valve to your home if you have ice in your pipes. Then call your local plumber to fix the issue before a pipe bursts and causes more damage to your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.
2120 McDaniels Bridge Rd SW
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 736-8283

What to Do if You Have a Frozen Water Pipe

Every year, when the coldest days of winter hit, there are thousands of people who end up with frozen water pipes. Some of the worst problems happen in areas where cold weather neither common nor expected, leaving many pipes exposed to the elements without any insulation. If you turn on your water after a very cold night and find very little to no water coming out of the faucet, there’s a good chance you have a frozen pipe.

Finding and Thawing a Frozen Water Pipe

One of the toughest issues with a frozen water pipe is determining which pipe has been affected. The first step is attempting to turn on the water in different areas of your house. If all your sinks are not working or have very low flow, you may have a frozen water main. If only one area of the house seems to be affected, a localized frozen pipe is likely the culprit.

The best places to look are areas which are exposed to cold air, such as in a crawl space or in your garage. You can try touching the pipes to feel whether they feel extremely cold. If you are able to find a pipe that is frozen, turn off the main water supply. Then. turn on the hot water faucets in the affected sinks. Often just the flow of water will thaw the pipes.

Although some frozen pipes can be thawed with running water or exposing the pipe to heat from a hair dryer or space heater, many will need a professional plumber to unthaw them safely. Heating a frozen pipe too quickly can burst a pipe, causing even more damage to your plumbing and water damage to surrounding property. It is best to let a professional find and fix your frozen pipes, ensuring the issue is resolved completely.

Bynum & Sons Plumbing, Inc.
2120 McDaniels Bridge Rd SW
Lilburn, GA 30047
(770) 736-8283

How to Protect Your Water Pipes from Freezing in Cold Weather

If you live in an older home or poorly insulated one, you may find that you have problems keeping your water lines from freezing.  This is especially true for any pipes near an outside wall or doors.  When water freezes, it expands and can cause the pipes to separate at the joints and crack.  When it thaws out, the result can be major water damage in the home.

You can use thermostatic heating tape around the pipes to keep the water inside from freezing.  Plug the tape into a receptacle and it will keep a constant temperature for the pipes.  You can also wrap the pipes in foam insulation and tape it to keep it in place.  Another option is to add insulation to the wall near the pipes and keep the area warmer.

If it is safe to do so, you can keep a space heater in the room that gets cold enough to freeze the pipes.  Sometimes just leaving the doors to the cabinets open will prevent the air from getting cold enough to reach freezing.  You can also keep the faucet running at just a steady drip to prevent freezing.  Moving water does not freeze as easily and that is often a resolution for bathrooms and kitchens where water freezes.  Another more expensive option is to turn the temperature up in the house to warm the area where the freezing pipes are located.

If you have problems with freezing pipes in the winter, you may want to get help from your plumber to determine the best fix for the situation and prevent costly repairs.