Frozen pipes are the most common culprits for property damage in winter, especially in the south, where winter can stretch longer than expected. Frozen pipes are highly inconvenient as they can interrupt your daily routine and prevent you from accessing water supply for washing, bathing, or other essentials.
The damage from frozen pipes is also expensive to repair. Angi estimates the cost of repairing damage from frozen pipes at $500 on average. Rates can go up to $5,000 or higher if you need to replace the damaged pipes and do some water damage repairs.
To help you avoid the unwanted expense of repairing frozen pipe damage in Suffolk County, we offer some useful tips on preventing pipes from freezing in winter or during a cold snap.
Which Pipes Are Most Likely to Freeze?
Pipes exposed to severe cold without sufficient insulation are the most prone to freezing. Even indoor pipes can also succumb to freezing temperatures. Sections of pipe systems that pass through unheated areas of the house, such as the basement, garage, and crawl spaces, are just as prone to freezing as the uninsulated pipes that run against exterior walls and lines that lead to outdoor faucets.
Water in pipes can start freezing when the temperature dips to -4 degrees Fahrenheit as the minerals in water can trigger a nucleation event wherein ice crystals begin to form. You shouldn’t wait for the temperatures to drop before taking preventive measures against freezing and take precautions while the weather is still much warmer.
Tips To Avoid Frozen Pipe Damage in Suffolk County
Here’s what you need to do before winter or a cold snap descends:
- Drain the water supply lines leading to your swimming pool or lawn sprinklers.
- Drain the outdoor hoses, remove them from the hose bibs, and put them away until needed again. Close the inside valves supplying water to outdoor hose bibs.
- Check if the insulation in the crawl spaces, basement, and attic is still in good condition.
- Install pipe sleeves and other UL-certified products for insulating exposed water pipes.
Once winter starts and the temperature plunges to below zero, here are some tips on how to keep indoor pipes from freezing:
- If you have water lines in your garage and the space is unheated, open the doors only when leaving or parking your car.
- If you have faucets served by exposed pipes, keep them open and let a trickle flow. You can catch the water with a large basin to avoid wastage. Letting the water run in exposed pipes helps prevent freezing.
- Leave the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to let the warmer indoor air circulate the exposed plumbing.
- Keep the thermostat constant from day to night as much as possible. Your electricity bill might be higher, but it will still be cheaper than repairing damage from frozen pipes.
- Leave your heater on at a safe temperature if you’re not home for more than a day.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If your pipes still freeze despite your efforts to prevent it, here are some tips on how to thaw the ice before it breaks the plumbing:
- Clear the space around the exposed indoor plumbing and remove flammable materials like paper, upholstery, or wooden furniture.
- Apply an electric heating pad on exposed indoor pipes. Alternatively, you can heat the pipes with a hair dryer or a portable space heater. WARNING: Never use an open flame from a blowtorch or kerosene, propane, or charcoal stove to thaw frozen pipes.
- Keep the faucet open to allow water to flow once the ice starts to thaw.
How Frozen Pipes Damage Properties
Why is frozen water inside pipes a significant concern? It’s because water expands as it freezes. When a substantial amount of water is trapped in the confines of a PVC pipe, it puts a lot of pressure on the inner lining. Eventually, the expanding ice can crack or break the pipe.
When winter passes and the ice thaws, the ice melt will leak through the cracks and cause minor damage on its own. Once you open the valves you closed in preparation for winter, and the water rushes through the plumbing, the damaged pipes can burst and wreak all sorts of havoc in your home.
Burst pipes often result in the following:
- Indoor flooding
- Massive water damage to the adjacent wall and floor
- Damage to your electronics, furniture, and other soaked belongings
- Increased risk of mold
Frozen pipes can quickly escalate from a plumbing problem to damaging your property. By preventing frozen pipes, you also prevent water damage to your home.
Call the Professionals in Water Restoration in Suffolk County
Repairing frozen pipes is difficult, stressful, and potentially expensive. Fortunately, preventing frozen pipes is easy. Follow our tips above to avoid frozen pipe damage in Suffolk County. If there’s still some damage to your house after winter, whether due to frozen pipes or some other cause, you can count on Restoration 1 to fix them.
We are a property restoration company with a stellar track record in water restoration in Suffolk County. We also offer flood damage cleanup, water extraction, drying, and other related services.
Don’t let frozen pipes give you grief during and after winter. Contact us today to prevent further damage to your plumbing or property.