Protecting Your Home from Pipe Bursts During Freezing Weather

When freezing weather is imminent, preparations for staying warm is typically the first thought roaming through the minds of homeowners, and rightfully so. But when it comes to preparation for a serious cold, protecting your home should also be top priority. When freezing weather arrives, the potential for water damage can become a major risk to any home.

How does freezing weather increase risk of water damage?

When surface air outdoors reaches approximately 32°F (0°C) and below for an extended period of time, this is considered to be freezing weather. At 32°F (0°C), a fundamental shift also occurs in the physical state of water. This precise temperature marks the freezing point, where liquid water undergoes a transition to its solid state, ice. Studies say that water expands by as much as 9% when it freezes. When water-filled plumbing pipes encounter freezing temperatures, a seemingly harmless liquid becomes a lurking threat. As the water within plumbing pipes freezes, it expands and exerts powerful forces on pipes enough to cause a pipe burst. The most vulnerable plumbing lines are those located within an exterior wall.

Tips for avoiding a pipe burst during freezing weather

Drip your pipes

You may have heard that you should keep your faucets dripping during freezing cold temperatures. We strongly recommend that you open up your faucets to more than just a drip. Allow for a small constant stream. Turn on both hot and cold water for all fixtures.

This will cost you several gallons of water overnight, but this cost will be significantly less than the damages and troubles that result from a frozen pipe.

Dripping pipes to avoid pipe burst during freezing weather.

Insulate plumbing lines and fixtures

In an unconditioned basement, sometimes you may have access to plumbing lines that run inside an exterior wall. If you do have access, install pipe insulation around these plumbing lines. 

Another easy and cost effective preventative measure is to install quality insulated covers over all hose bibs to keep them from direct exposure to freezing temperatures.

Covered hose bib

Be Prepared

BEFORE the arrival of freezing weather, identify your water main shut off valve both in your home, and at the street. This will allow you to be ready to shut off water in the event of a plumbing leak.

What to do if you experience a plumbing leak

  1. Shut off water - If the plumbing leak is inside your home, turn off the Water main valve, which is typically found in the basement or near the water heater. If the water leak is between your home and the street, then turn off the water main valve at the street.
  2. Call a plumber to repair the leak
  3. Call a Restoration Company, such as Ensign Building Solutions, for emergency service day or night. We guarantee prompt service for water extraction, structural drying, and comprehensive rebuild.

If you have any questions regarding how to best prepare, give us a call and talk to one of our experts. 770-205-9891

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