The cold winter days are coming and with it can bring some serious concerns when it comes to the safety of your home. When the temperatures drop below zero, there is a chance that your pipes may freeze or even burst. This can be very dangerous, especially when it is so cold out. A frozen pipe may stop the flow of water through it and you won’t be able to take a shower, wash your dishes or even start the washing machine for your clothes. Not only that but if you continuously try to use your faucet while it is frozen, a lot of water can accumulate which can cause the pipe to burst.
This is why we recommend to everyone who notices weird behavior with their plumbing during winter, to ensure that everything is in order.
You might be wondering how to recognize whether you have a problem with your pipes or if there is a leak or even worse if there is a burst. Normally, if it is a burst, you would notice immediately since you will have a leak through your floor or your roof that can flood your home. However, a leak or a frozen pipe might not be as obvious. If you want to find out if there are any issues with the plumbing you will have to do a close inspection. If you are not able to come to a conclusion by yourself, you could call a professional from sites such as findwaterdamagerestoration.com who can properly analyze the situation of your water system.
Here are some things you should know when it comes to fixing frozen or burst pipes.
What type of water system is vulnerable to freezing?
Believe it or not, there are a few different types of materials used when building a system and some of those are less prone to freeze up than others.
If you live in a more southern area where it is very rare to see temperatures drop below zero, the pipes are usually made from materials that are not as cold resistant. They do not have as much insulation as you would have in a place that is used to cold winters. So, if you are from the South and you noticed weird behavior or leaks in your home, we recommend that you consider the possibility of frozen plumbing.
Another place where you can find frozen pipes is usually in the basement. This is because most basements do not get heated like the rest of the house which means the temperature in this area will be much lower. If you have pipes that go through the basement, there is a good chance that they might freeze, so make sure you check up on them once or twice a week to ensure that everything is fine.
The last vulnerable location is outside. If you have a backyard that constantly needs watering then you probably have some type of watering system or hoses installed that could freeze up. Since they are located outside, they probably do not have any kind of insulation which means there is a possibility that they are already turned into ice. According to GTARestoration, most frozen & burst pipes in Toronto are usually the ones that are located outside.
Signs that you have a problem
- How low is the temperature?
You might feel like this winter is especially cold, but in reality, if the temperature is still above 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius), there really is no reason why you should worry about your plumbing. Sure, 55 degrees °F, might feel very cold on your skin, but it not nearly enough to cause any problems with your home.
However, if you do see the temperature drop below that 32-degree °F threshold then you should definitely start taking come precautions to prevent future problems.
- Icicles on the pipe
If you have any pipes that are not located inside of your walls and can be easily seen such as those under your sink, in the attic or in your basement, you can easily check if they have icicles on them. This is a sign that you should definitely avoid using the faucet as it may cause it to burst which is a much bigger problem.
- No water
You wake up one morning and you go to the bathroom to brush your teeth and wash your teeth, but when you turn on the faucet you only hear air coming out. If there hasn’t been any announcement that the water in your area will be shut down then you should definitely close the faucet as soon as possible and consider that you have a problem with your plumbing.
What should you do?
Once you finally realize that you have an issue with the plumbing in your home, you have to act quickly as the chance of a burst is increasing by the minute. The first thing you should do is to turn off the water supply to your system. You should have a lever or valve in your basement or in one of your bathrooms. This is very important as it can reduce the risk of a burst.
If you are willing to do some fixing all by yourself, it all comes down to your expertise, skill and the location of the problem. If you have easy access to the pipe and you know what you are doing then you should try thawing it by yourself. If you are not sure whether you will be able to do it on your own then you should just call a professional who will fix the issue in no time.
If the pipe has already burst and you do not know where the main water supply valve is located then you should immediately call a plumber and tell them it is an emergency. Water damage is a very serious problem that can hurt the structural integrity of your home, your furniture, and even your health.
Keep in mind, if it is only frozen, then the cost of the professional help won’t be as expensive. If you have a burst, that can be quite a bit more expensive.