Dealing with Frozen Pipes in Your Columbus Home

Dealing with Frozen Pipes in Your Columbus HomeColumbus and pretty much the entire nation have been under a crazy cold snap in the last week. With temperatures changing drastically in a matter of days, several homeowners have been surprised with a gush of water in very unwelcome places like through the ceiling or down the wall. Or by the water not turning on when they go to take a shower or wash their hands. This is all from a common problem of pipes freezing when the temperature drops below freezing. 

Why Frozen Pipes are an Issue

As the temperature drops and the water flowing through a pipe cools and freezes it expands in size. As the water increases in size, it puts pressure on the pipe and causes the pipe to expand. This pressure can be up to 2,000 pounds per square inch. There is little room for the water to expand in the pipe and eventually, the pipe gives way to the pressure of the water expanding as it freezes and then it bursts. 

When a pipe first bursts it might go unnoticed because the water escapes at a very slow rate if at all. When the water begins to thaw again a homeowner is in danger of flooding. The most common cause of home floods is a burst pipe during the winter. 

Pipes Most Susceptible to Freezing

Some pipes have a higher chance of freezing over than others. These pipes include ones located on outside walls in your home, pipes in cabinets under sinks (especially those on outside walls), pipes in an unheated crawl space or basement, and pipes connected to outdoor faucets used to connect garden hoses. 

Techniques to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you have discovered a frozen pipe in your home (usually detected by low or no water pressure when you attempt to turn the water on) it is important to try and thaw the pipe right away. 

The first step is to locate the freeze

The first sign of a frozen pipe can usually be revealed from a faucet or other area of water usage. If you turn on the faucet and there's no water or a very slow trickle there's a good chance that somewhere a pipe is frozen and blocked. The first course of action is to shut off the main water valve in your home. You also want to open the faucet with a limited supply of water even if you are unable to locate the freeze.

Follow the pipe back from the affected faucet to try and locate the blockage. Usually, it is located in an exterior wall or unheated crawlspace. Look for an area of piping that shows frost or ice or is slightly enlarged or fissured. How you proceed to thaw the pipe depends on the area where the pipe is located.

Thawing a pipe inside a wall

Determining that a frozen pipe is located within a sealed-up wall is a challenging task to get the pipe thawed out. First, you want to turn up the heat in your house and give it some time to see if the water begins to flow again. If the pipe with an issue is located within a cabinet area you want to make sure you open the cabinet so that heat can reach the pipe. 

If you're concerned that the pipe within the wall is likely to burst then you may want to cut out a small section in the wall to try and access the section of pipe that has been affected. If you can find the section of pipe and cut a section of wall to expose it then you can begin to treat it as if it was exposed.

Thawing exposed pipes

If the frozen portion of pipe is in an exposed area that is easily accessible it can be much easier to remedy the issue. You can try several heating elements like a hairdryer or a portable heater but always make sure that you are closely monitoring your heat source. You also want to try and position the heat so that it will cause the water to flow toward the faucet.

You can also use an item called electric heat tape. It is a ribbon-like wrap that you place around the pipe and plug into the wall. The temperature of the tape can be controlled with a thermostat and it can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing when the temperature drops again. You can leave the heat tape around the pipe and plug it in when it is needed.

Other Measures to Prevent Freezing

Freezing pipes can be a huge issue and unfortunately are all too common but there are some things that you can do to help prevent them if a cold spell is on the horizon. It is good to leave a faucet dripping during the coldest temperatures. This steadily moving water will help keep pipes slightly above the freezing point and help to prevent them from completely freezing over.

Also, make sure to open cabinet doors around sinks in your kitchen and bathroom. This allows sufficient heat to move around the pipes in your cupboard and helps to keep them from freezing. You can also grab some insulation wrap for pipes in unheated spaces. This method however does only slow and not prevent a pipe from freezing. And you could consider installing permanent heating fixtures in areas where there is no insulation to help keep pipes from freezing when it gets cold. And of course, it is always smart to remove your hose well before winter begins on outside faucets and to place winterized caps over your exterior faucets to insulate them.

Making sure that you are well aware of how to prevent and care for possible pipe freezing in your Columbus home will go a long way in saving you thousands of dollars of damage in your home.

Or more information about purchasing or selling a home in Columbus please contact me anytime. I am here to make your homeownership polls become a reality and make the process as stress-free as possible.Contact me with any Columbus real estate needs.

Post a Comment