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Cold weather can be hard on homes. If some aspect of home maintenance has been neglected or overlooked, any related problems may make themselves known during the cold winter months. Your home’s plumbing is most at risk when freezing temperatures arrive. Winters in Mesa, AZ, are generally mild, but freezing temperatures do occur from time to time. Appropriate preparation can save a lot of time and money on repairs and reparations later. Your plumber can help prepare your home for winter.
Signs of Freezing Pipes
Water leaks are one of the most common causes of property damage. A leak can easily result in thousands of dollars worth of repairs and restorations. Burst pipes can release a lot of water in a surprisingly short time. It’s bad enough if someone is in the home to notice an issue right away and turn off the main water supply, but it’s even worse if no one is home to react quickly. The best way to prevent this outcome is by taking proper precautions and maintaining your home’s plumbing with the help of a professional plumber. Pipes must be protected and insulated to prevent freezing. Frozen water expands and exerts pressure on pipe walls.
All pipes, whether they’re made of plastic or metal, are at risk of freezing and bursting. Insulation is especially important for exposed pipes and pipes located outside the home. Interior pipes are at risk if they’re located in unheated or poorly heated areas such as garages, basements, and attics. Pipes underneath sinks and inside cabinets could be at risk as well.
Sometimes frozen pipes aren’t obvious, but there are signs to watch out for. If no water comes out when you turn on a tap, it could indicate a frozen pipe. Frost on the outside of pipes and fixtures is a bad sign. It means pipes are too cold and the water inside may already be partially frozen. Always address frost immediately. Call a plumber if you aren’t sure how to warm your pipes quickly without causing any damage.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
It is possible to thaw frozen pipes yourself, but mistakes can create big problems. Some homeowners use an electric heating pad or a hairdryer. You can also try soaking towels in very hot water and wrapping them around frozen pipes. Don’t use propane or kerosene heaters. They can start fires and may thaw pipes too quickly.
It’s also important to apply heat evenly. An uneven thawing process can damage the pipe and you may end up with a flooded room. It’s best to call a plumber if you’re not absolutely sure that you can thaw pipes properly on your own. Plumbers have specific tools to thaw frozen pipes slowly to avoid additional damage.
The thawing process should continue uninterrupted until pipes are completely thawed and water flows freely. Check other pipes in the same area and pipes and fixtures in other unheated parts of the house. If one pipe is frozen, the odds are good that at least a few other pipes may be frozen as well. Plumbing pipes and fixtures are frequently located in places that are hard to reach. Pipes inside walls or in crawl spaces can’t be accessed easily. It’s best to call a professional plumber in Mesa, AZ, to handle frozen pipes and other issues in such spaces.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Protecting pipes from freezing is preferable to fixing problems later. The key to freeze-proofing pipes is warm water. Make sure the water flowing through your pipes is too warm to allow freezing. Insulation blankets, which are available from many hardware stores, are a simple and effective preventative measure. Your plumber can also supply insulation blankets and wrap pipes for you. Drainage pipes that carry wastewater don’t always need insulation. Pipes carrying clean water are most important. You can leave a tap open to let a trickle of warm water run through pipes continuously. This is a helpful strategy, but it isn’t foolproof.
Warm air circulation is also a good way to prevent freezing. Pipes located under sinks or on exterior walls may be isolated from circulating air inside the home. Rooms and other interior spaces that aren’t used very often may be colder than the rest of the house. Some people intentionally keep such areas at low temperatures to reduce energy bills but make sure these spaces aren’t cold enough to let pipes freeze. A plumber can evaluate your home’s entire plumbing infrastructure and identify potential problem areas.
Opening sinks and cabinets to let warm air reach pipes is a simple solution. Many households store chemicals, such as cleaning solutions and other commonly used products, in the same cabinets that house plumbing infrastructure. Make sure that potentially harmful chemicals are kept out of reach of pets or children.
Don’t let the temperature inside your home fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead of turning your heater off, you can take other steps to reduce energy bills. Make sure basements, attics and crawl spaces are properly insulated. Locate and repair sources of drafts and air leaks as soon as you notice them. Drafts let warm air escape while cold air enters your home.
You can use caulk to fill gaps, holes and cracks in exterior walls. Pay special attention to your garage if it has a water supply and pipes. Don’t leave garage doors open in cold weather and replace cracked or broken windows. Call a professional for help if you don’t have much experience in home repairs or if your home has a lot of drafts.
Contact the licensed professional plumbers at Schroeder Plumbing for all of your plumbing issues in Mesa, AZ. They’re happy to answer questions and offer a wide range of plumbing services, such as routine maintenance, targeted cold weather preparations and repairs or renovations.