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What to Know About Frozen Pipes

pipe burst

It’s finally starting to feel like winter, and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in your eyes, it does at least mean one thing – cold pipes. If you’re regularly living in your home (a.k.a. turning on your heat and using your water), you don’t need to worry much about your pipes freezing. But if you’re planning to take a vacation during the cold months, your pipes will be more susceptible while you’re gone.

Temperature Variations

Although water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, that doesn’t mean your pipes will do the same. The temperature at which your pipes freeze depends on several factors, including what they’re made from, where in your home they’re located, how old they are, and how much insulation is around them. In general, un-insulated pipes in an attic will freeze around 20 degrees, which means pipes located in more protected areas (and ones with insulation) usually freeze at even lower temperatures.

Worst Case Scenario

If your pipes are left to the harsh cold temperatures, they may eventually “burst” and leave you with quite a mess to clean up. Many believe the reason pipes burst is because the water in them turns to ice and presses so hard against the pipe, it bursts the pipe. However, while bursts are caused by ice, the damage is usually caused in an area without ice. When you don’t use your water, pressure builds inside of your pipes. If you have an ice block, pressure will build up between the ice and your closed faucet, and once it becomes to great, it will cause the pipe to burst.

What to Do

To prevent this, make sure your pipes have the right amount of insulation for your home’s location. If you’re planning on leaving for a short period of time, you can help keep them warm by opening cabinet doors and letting warm air underneath your sink. You can also turn your faucet to a very slow drip in order to alleviate some of the pressure. If you’re leaving for a longer amount of time, the best thing to do is drain your water system to make sure there’s no water left in your pipes.

If your pipes do burst, give our plumbing repair team a call at 1-877-757-1141 and we’ll help mend the situation.