Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing accounted for 33.7% of insurance losses in 2014 compared to 25.9% in 2013. The good news is that there are ways to prevent your pipes from freezing and causing damages by taking preventative action and educating yourself on how it can happen.
What Happens When Pipes Freeze
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit which can spell trouble for unprotected pipes. The problem starts when water freezes inside a pipe causing pressure to build between the enclosed area (faucet, hose, etc.) and the ice. When the pressure becomes too great, the pipe will burst. Exterior, un-insulated and copper or galvanized steel pipes are all among the most susceptible to freezing.
How to Prevent Your Pipes from Freezing
Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit which can spell trouble for unprotected pipes. The problem starts when water freezes inside a pipe causing pressure to build between the enclosed area (faucet, hose, etc.) and the ice. When the pressure becomes too great, the pipe will burst. Exterior, un-insulated and copper or galvanized steel pipes are all among the most susceptible to freezing. With a few proactive home weatherization steps, you can prepare your home for chillier weather and prevent your pipes from freezing:
Step 1: Drain, remove and store external hoses as they can become easily ruined in the harsh elements.
Step 2: If you have other outside lines, like for a sprinkler system, drain the system according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 3: Turn off the inside water supply valves to any external pipes, but leave outdoor valves, like your hose spigot, open. In the event of pipes freezing, the water remaining in the pipe will be able to expand without breaking the pipe.
Step 4: Insulate pipes with foam or pipe sleeves in areas like the garage, basement and any other unheated areas. The pipes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks should also be insulated.
Step 5: Insulate other areas in your home including sealing any cracks, closing garage doors to keep the heat inside and closing up any holes inside your home.When the weather is especially chilly, let water drip from the pipes as the moving water will help prevent pipes from bursting and freezing. Keep your thermostat at the same temperature during the day and night for consistency, no lower than fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature monitoring system can allow you to control and monitor your property temperature remotely and is ideal for business properties and vacation homes.
How to Thaw Pipes
If your pipes have frozen, the first step is to turn off the main water valve. If you can access the frozen pipes, thaw them out with warm air by using a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure to not leave it unattended and avoid anything with open flames. Slowly turn the water back on while looking for any leaks. If the frozen area is not accessible or you are unable to unfreeze the pipe, be sure to call a plumber for assistance.
Taking just a few and simple proactive steps to prevent your pipes from freezing can save you from damages and costly repairs. Contact Secure Pacific to learn more about preparing your home for winter and our home monitoring systems.