We have left the holiday season behind and headed straight into frozen pipes season. As you know, water is no joke; it can be extremely destructive to your home and costly to repair. When water freezes, it expands. So, when the water in your pipes freezes it puts more pressure on the pipes than they can handle causing them to burst. This is bad for lots of reasons; the main one being that once a pipe burst, it can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour…. so, I’ll just let you do the math on how much it cost to repair that.
Fortunately, with a little bit of luck and a whole lot of knowledge, you can save your home from disaster and enjoy the frigid temps with a pair of thick socks and a warm fire. The pipes most likely to burst are pretty easy to figure out: any pipe outside, any plumbing in exterior walls and exposed pipes in areas of your home that are not insulated, such as a basement, crawl space, garage or attic.
The best way to protect your pipes is to insulate them, but even insulated pipes have the potential to freeze. If the temperature is dropping below freezing you should always turn on a small amount of both hot and cold water to run through your pipes overnight. It is also a good idea to open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so that the warm air flowing through your home can help keep them warm as well.
Even if you do everything right, your pipes can still burst which is where the little bit of luck comes in. If it happens to you, here is what you do next:
- Turn off the water to your house
- Turn off your heating system and all other electrical devices
- Cover your main electricity box
- Call a plumber
Start saving what you can – move furniture, clothes, artwork, etc. out of the way.
Document everything for insurance purposes – take pictures and video so when you call your agent if they cannot come look at the damage you can send it to them.
Start removing as much water as possible in any way possible. As mentioned above, water is incredibly damaging, don’t leave it sitting there. Get a shop-vac, towels, sump pump, whatever you can think of to help soak up the water and fans to help it dry out quickly.
This is Frozen Pipe Roulette and if you are the unlucky winner, give Carmine’s a call at 203-791-8089 and we will help you get your plumbing working properly again.