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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Winterizing Exposed Pipes

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

wording winterize, outdoor faucet, frozen precipitation Don't leave your outdoor faucet exposed to winter weather

Winterizing Your Exposed Pipes

Frozen pipes are the most common loss claim during the winter months.  As a general rule, temperatures outside must drop to at least 20 degrees or lower to cause pipes to freeze.  Pipes burst when water in the pipes freezes and expands.  If there is no water in the pipes they will not freeze.  There is no reason to turn off your water when leaving your home for an extended time if the heating system is left on. 

Unheated interior spaces like your garage, attic or basement are most at risk for frozen pipes.  The liberal use of insulation on any exposed pipes in these areas will help protect from freezing.  Other ways are to keep the garage closed as much as possible and don’t let your home fall under 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle helps prevent pipes from freezing.  Water has a unique property that it expands as it freezes.  This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.  No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.  As the frozen pipe is treated leave the faucet open so water will flow through and help melt ice in the pipe.  The frozen pipe can be treated by applying an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer or portable space heater.  Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.  If unable to locate the frozen pipes or if not accessible a licensed plumber may need to be called.

If one pipe freezes in your home it is possible others have frozen.  Be sure to check all other faucets for water pressure.  Remember winterizing early while it is still warm and ensuring all exposed pipes have been insulated will greatly decrease the chances of frozen and broken pipes.  Broken pipes can lead to water damage to the structure of your home and contents creating costly repairs.  In the event of water damage to your home, please contact your Local SERVPRO for professional service.  Our services are available 24 hours 7 days a week including Holidays.

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