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May 18 2023

How to Protect Your Plumbing Pipes from a Hard Freeze

As the winter chill sets in, it's not just the frosty mornings and icy roads we need to worry about. There's a hidden danger lurking in our homes that can cause significant damage if not properly addressed - the risk of our plumbing pipes freezing. When the temperature drops, the water inside our pipes can solidify, leading to blockages, and in worst-case scenarios, causing the pipes to burst. This can result in costly repairs and a whole lot of inconvenience. But fear not, the professionals at Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air provide quality plumbing service for our local customers including pipe repair, repiping, maintenance, and inspections. We enjoy helping our customers avoid the problems that come with frozen pipes, and we’re sure you would like to do the same. Keep reading for more information that can help you avoid an emergency call to the plumber the next time the temperature drops.

Understanding the Risk: Why Plumbing Pipes Freeze

When the temperature dips significantly, the water inside your pipes can freeze. This process creates a blockage that prevents water from flowing freely. More worryingly, as the water turns into ice, it expands. This expansion puts immense pressure on your pipes, regardless of whether they're made from metal or plastic. If left unchecked, this pressure can cause your pipes to burst, leading to significant water damage and costly repairs. Understanding this risk is the first step in protecting your plumbing pipes from a hard freeze. It's not just about avoiding inconvenience; it's about protecting your home and your wallet from unexpected disasters.

The Vulnerable Pipes: Identifying Areas at Risk

Now that we understand why pipes freeze, let's identify which pipes in your home are most at risk. Typically, pipes that are exposed to the cold without any insulation are the most vulnerable. These often include pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as the garage, attic, and basement. Outdoor pipes for your garden hose or swimming pool supply lines can also be at risk, as they are directly exposed to freezing temperatures. Pipes running along the exterior walls of your home, especially if they have little or no insulation, are also susceptible. Even pipes under kitchen or bathroom cabinets can freeze, particularly if they are against an outside wall and the cabinets are kept closed, preventing warm air from reaching them.

How to Protect Your Pipes from a Hard Freeze

Prevention is indeed the best medicine when it comes to protecting your pipes. The first step is to insulate any exposed pipes in your home. You can use pipe insulation or heat tape for this purpose. For pipes under sinks on exterior walls, consider opening the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate. If you have outdoor faucets, disconnect any hoses, drain them, and store them indoors. You can also install an insulated cover over the faucet for added protection. In extremely cold weather, let your faucets drip slightly. This constant water movement can help prevent freezing. And remember, keep your home's temperature above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when you're not home.

Emergency Measures: What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Despite our best efforts, the cold can sometimes get the better of our pipes. If you face frozen pipes, don't panic - there are steps you can take to reduce the damage. First, shut off the water supply to the affected area to prevent further freezing and potential bursting. Then, you can try to gently thaw the frozen pipe. You can do this by applying heat directly to the pipe with a hairdryer, a heating pad, or even hot towels. Remember, the key word here is 'gentle'. Never use an open flame or anything that could potentially damage the pipe or start a fire. If you're unable to access the frozen area, or if the pipe does burst, it's time to call in a professional plumber. While dealing with frozen pipes can be stressful, knowing what to do in an emergency can help protect your property and investments.

Do You Need a Professional Pipe Repair or Plumbing Service?

Protecting your plumbing pipes from a freeze is not just a winter chore, but a crucial step in defending your home from damage. At Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we're committed to providing you with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your home safe and warm throughout the winter months. Our team of experienced professionals is always ready to assist with any plumbing concerns you may have, from insulation to repiping services. If you find yourself dealing with frozen pipes, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're always here to help. Contact our office for more details or to schedule an appointment.

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