What happens when a pipe freezes?
When a pipe freezes, the water inside the pipe expands as it turns to ice. This can cause the pipe to crack or burst. The damage caused by a frozen pipe can range from small leaks to complete pipe failure, depending on the severity of the freeze and the strength of the pipe. A frozen pipe can also cause a water hammer, which is a sudden jolt of pressure that can damage fittings and valves in the plumbing system. When a pipe bursts, it can cause significant damage to the surrounding area and lead to costly repairs. It can also cause water to flood the house which can lead to secondary damages like mold and rot.
What causes your pipes to freeze?
When temperatures outside drop below freezing, it can cause the water inside pipes to freeze. This is especially likely to happen with pipes that run through unheated areas of a home, such as a garage, attic, or crawl space.
Pipes that are not properly insulated are more susceptible to freezing. Insulation helps to keep the warmth from the inside of the home from reaching the pipes, which can prevent them from freezing.
Cold winds blowing against the side of a house can cause pipes to freeze.
If you set the thermostat too low, the temperature inside the house could be below freezing.
How do you unfreeze a frozen pipe?
If a pipe has already frozen, you can try the following steps to thaw it out:
Turn on the faucet:
Turning on a faucet that is connected to the frozen pipe can help to melt the ice. As the water starts to melt, it will begin to flow through the pipe and can help to thaw out the blockage.
Applying heat to the frozen area of the pipe can help to melt the ice. You can use a hair dryer, heat lamp, or portable heater to apply heat to the pipe.
Wrapping the pipe with heating tape or towels soaked in hot water, can also do the trick.
Never use an open flame or torch to thaw pipes, it can cause fire hazard.
How do you keep pipes from freezing in the future?
To prevent pipes from freezing in the future, you can take the following steps:
Insulate any pipes that run through unheated areas of your home. This can help to keep the warmth from the inside of the home from reaching the pipes, which can prevent them from freezing.
Check for any leaks or gaps around the pipes and seal them with caulking or insulation.
Keep the heat on:
Keep the thermostat at a minimum of 55°F, even when you’re away from home or on vacation.
Keep cabinet doors open:
If you have pipes that run through your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, keep the doors open. This will allow warm air to circulate around the pipes, which can help to prevent them from freezing.
In conclusion, a pipe freezes when water inside it drops below freezing temperatures. It is caused by cold temperatures, poor insulation, wind, and low thermostat settings. To thaw a frozen pipe, you can turn on the faucet, apply heat, or wrap the pipe with heating tape or towels soaked in hot water. To prevent freezing, it is important to insulate pipes, seal leaks, keep the heat on, and open cabinet doors that contain pipes.