During the winter, even in the Phoenix area, some days can see drastic drops in outside temperatures that can adversely affect a home’s indoor plumbing system. Pipes are susceptible to freezing and bursting in winter months. Here are tips to help homeowners detect and prevent frozen pipes.
The freezing point is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures drop to below the freezing point, it does not necessarily mean that the pipes will freeze. Homeowners will be relieved to know that indoor pipes are protected from cold outdoor temps by the home’s insulation.
Homes across the country’s geographic areas are affected differently, as interior pipes are better insulated in areas where colder temperatures are expected. Pipes in Phoenix area homes may not be well protected for when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.
When outside temperatures are below freezing for at least six consecutive hours, the pipes in the home are more likely to freeze and potentially burst. The home’s insulation and pipe locations are factors when determining how long it takes the pipes to freeze.
What are signs of a frozen pipe?
Frozen pipes can be easily detected. The most telling sign of a frozen pipe is when the homeowner turns on the faucet and a mere trickle or no water flows out; alternately, the water pressure may be poor. Ice inside the pipe is responsible for blocking the passage of water.
A visual inspection of the visible water pipes, such as those under the bathroom or kitchen sinks, can also reveal a frozen pipe. Water pipes that appear frosty or icy on their exteriors are almost always frozen, and homeowners rarely need to turn on the faucet to confirm it.
Indoor pipes showing an unsightly bulge during subfreezing outdoor temperatures are indicative of ice buildup in the pipes. The water within the pipes is frozen, leading to the expansion of ice. The pipes form a bulge where the ice expands; a burst pipe is the potentially disastrous outcome.
Unusual, foul smells emanating from the drain are warnings of a possibly frozen pipe. A pipe partially or fully blocked by ice is unable to divert smells down the drain. Instead, the odors make their way back up the drain and into the interior parts of the home.
How do homeowners look for frozen pipes?
Certain pipes in the home are more susceptible to freezing when conditions are right. Exterior pipes have the highest risk for freezing in winter. Swimming pool lines, outdoor hose bibs and water sprinkler lines are types of exterior pipes that require attention before wintertime.
Pipes in parts of the home that receive inadequate heating are also subject to freezing. Examples of such areas include the garage, attic, and crawl space. Poorly insulated pipes that are concealed behind the walls or under floors are also vulnerable to freezing when temperatures drop.
Some geographic regions in the continental United States, such as the Phoenix area, are not known to undergo extreme winters. In such locations, water pipes are usually not well-insulated. In the event of unanticipated drops in temperature, these inadequately insulated pipes have no protection and are bound to freeze.
Homeowners who are faced with symptoms of a frozen pipe are advised to look for the location of the ice blockage. Pipe surfaces that are frosted reveal the ice block inside. Upon touching the pipes, certain sections will feel colder and indicate the location of the ice blockage.
Water pipes are hollow, except when ice forms and creates a temporary blockage. Solid pipes produce a different sound than hollow ones. When suspecting a frozen pipe, gently tap the pipe with an object. Listen to areas that produce sounds revealing where the pipe section is no longer hollow.
What are tactics that prevent frozen pipes?
Preventing frozen pipes can be achieved via any of numerous strategies. Take action well before winter’s dreary weather wreaks havoc on the plumbing system. By taking precautionary measures, homeowners will prevent the costly water damage that results from a burst pipe.
Allow the faucet to drip on cold nights; flowing water does not freeze. Keep the cabinets open to allow heated air to circulate around the pipes inside. Wherever water lines are located inside the home, keep indoor temperatures from dropping to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Insulate the attic, crawl space and basement. Seal air leaks in these areas, as well as around dryer vents, electrical wiring, and pipes. Cold air that enters through gaps can freeze the interior pipes. Use plastic wrap insulation to seal leaking windows and prevent cold air from freezing the pipes.
Heat sleeves or electrical tape are ideal for warming pipes during cold temperatures. A homeowner who is unable to find pipe insulation may resort to wrapping the pipes with fabric or newspaper. Pipes in vulnerable areas, like those near exterior walls, must be properly insulated.
Despite careful attention, pipes can freeze, burst, and cause a serious case of water damage. When you are faced with a water damage disaster, call in professional help. ServiceMaster All Care Restoration will arrive immediately to contain the water damage and stop its spread.
As dependable water damage cleanup experts, ServiceMaster All Care Restoration technicians handle the watery mess from start to finish. We first assess the extent of damage, extract all excess moisture, dry the property, monitor its condition, and apply antimicrobial solutions as a safety measure.
Water damage should be addressed promptly. Moisture is notorious for causing a range of structural issues and mold infestations. It is critical to seek professional help quickly so that your property may be successfully restored. ServiceMaster All Care Restoration is available to restore water damage of all proportions.
Whether you are a residential homeowner or business owner in Phoenix, AZ or the surrounding areas of Maricopa, Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties, ServiceMaster All Care Restoration will return your ruined property to its pre-loss condition fast. Our water damage restoration crews are available on an emergency basis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.