Frozen pipes & burst pipes
Frozen pipes in Denver cause millions of dollars of damage every year and the average cost to repair a home damaged by frozen pipes nationally is around $11,000.00. Plumbing pipes can freeze and not burst but don’t bet on it. The water in frozen pipes expands almost 10%. The best example is it’s just like a coca cola can that freezes in your refrigerator and explodes. The only difference is there’s an endless supply of water courtesy of your local water Department to flood your home. Unlike the lowly little 8 oz coke can!
Frozen Pipes are a huge problem in Denver during the winter but the good news is they are avoidable in most cases. We’ll tell you some of the main causes of frozen pipes in and around your home and give you some helpful tips on how to avoid them.
1. Furnaces that fail to turn on allow pipes to freeze when you’re not home. All that’s required is for your pipes to freeze at temperatures below 32 degrees F so make sure your furnace maintenance is up to date.
2. Poorly insulated walls in homes are a major cause of frozen pipes especially in garages, basements, crawlspaces, and the wall in front on your kitchen sink if you have a window in front of it. Make sure to leave cabinet doors open in your kitchen and bathrooms in your home on extremely cold days and nights, especially if you’re going away for a few days. The plumbing pipes in the cabinets under the sinks in your kitchen and bathroom will benefit greatly from the warm air being circulated by your homes heating system.
3. Pipes in crawl spaces are especially prone to freezing in cold weather. Remember, the main reason plumbing pipes are insulated in crawl spaces is to retain heat in the pipe. This is not a guarantee that they won’t freeze but insulating your crawl space will help. You could also install electrical heating cable around pipes exposed to freezing weather that automatically adjust to the heat output when temperatures fall below freezing. Blocking off the vents in your crawl spaces in the winter is very important.
4. Leave your heater on in the house on cold days in the winter even when you’ll be away for an extended period of time, and once again leave the cabinet doors open in the kitchen and bathrooms. This really does help.
5. Main water shut off valves: Make sure you know where your homes main water shut off valve is. This should be turned off immediately as well as opening a faucet closest to the burst pipe to relieve pressure on the burst pipe. Turning on a faucet will slow down the flow of water in the area of the burst pipe while you’re getting to the main water shut off valve.
6. Shut off valves for appliances in your home that use water: Make sure you know where they are. The water shut off valve for toilets is usually behind the toilet, the water line for the ice maker on refrigerators is behind the refrigerator, and water heater shut off-valves are usually located on the top of the water heater, and the valves should be turned clockwise to turn them off.
7. If you live in an apartment or condominium this is a great topic to bring up at HOA meetings to create some awareness with your neighbors. We are constantly called to fix burst pipes in Condo’s and Apartments where the water is pouring in from the unit above and there’s no one home where the unit where the leaking water is coming from. In many cases the Insurance companies will refuse to pay for the damaged apartment below and you don’t want that to happen to you.
8. Leave a small trickle of water running in the highest faucet in the house about the size of a small pencil. This is just enough running water through your pipes to keep pipes from freezing and bursting.
9. Blow out your sprinkler lines in the fall. This is inexpensive to do and it will save you from broken water lines outside your home in the winter as a result of freezing.
Things to do If a Pipe Burst in Your Home
When a Pipe Bursts here are a few tips that will save you from a disaster when a pipe freezes or bursts in your home.
1. Turn on a faucet that’s nearest to the burst pipe. This will slow down the flow of water spraying from the pipe while you’re turning of the main water shut off valve and trying to completely stop the flow of water from the burst pipe.
2. If there’s already a large amount of water covering the floor don’t think twice about calling 911. This can be a life threatening event when there are appliances that run on electricity in the space that is flooded. This can be a very dangerous situation.
3. Call a plumber. You need to make sure the burst pipe is repaired, find out why it burst and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
4. You should contact a flood or water damage restoration and mitigation specialist in Denver to make sure your carpets and walls are completely dried so you don’t have problems with mold or mildew in your home. That is a whole new set of problems that you don’t want to have to deal with.
Watch These Frozen Pipe Video’s
Here are some great videos about frozen pipes and how you can avoid them and deal with them if they occur.
Plumbing repairs for frozen pipes are a phone call away. Call Plumbline Services at 303.436.2525 24/7 anytime, day or night.