With winter comes the risk of frozen and burst pipes. Knowing how and why frozen pipes occur can help you prevent them in your own home.
Water expands when it freezes causing cracks or ruptures in water lines – When the temperature drops to below freezing, it is possible that a pipe will crack or rupture. If a water line is damaged, it might now show until the temperature warms up or it can cause a sudden rupture. A slow leak from a cracked pipe may take months or even years to discover.
A frozen pipe will alter water pressure and a build up of pressure can lead to a pipe burst – Low water pressure can be a sign of a frozen pipe. A frozen section of pipe often creates a blockage that develops a high volume of water pressure behind it and low pressure coming out of the tap. As the pressure builds, it can cause the pipe to fail.
Inconsistent water flow from the taps are a sign of an issue – A sudden burst of water out of the tap or a slow trickle is a sign that there is an issue. It is good practice to check taps, faucets and spigots for proper water flow.
Avoid letting the temperature drop too low – It is important to keep the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature to avoid frozen pipes. A common mistake is to turn off all heat to a home when leaving the house for a few days. This is all the time that is needed for a pipe to freeze and burst.
Make checking your home part of your routine – Slow leaks can go unnoticed if they occur in a part of the home that is not used with regularity. Check storage areas and utility rooms daily for possible leaks or water damage. Is the basement usually colder than the rest of your home? If so, this area is at a higher level of risk for frozen pipes and water damage.