In the midst of frigid winter temperatures, Atlanta homeowners often find the fear of frozen pipes front and center on their minds. But if you know what to look for and how to prevent frozen pipes, you'll save yourself headaches — and loads of money — down the road.
Because water expands when it freezes, the container holding it is pressurized. So pipes — no matter how strong — holding water can burst. All it takes is one little crack or leak to lead to a pipe busting open. The American Red Cross says the pipes most susceptible to freezing include swimming pool lines, outdoor hose bibs, lines to water sprinklers, and water lines in areas that aren't heated, like the basement, attics and garages.
If you see frost on your water line, water just trickles out of your faucets instead of gushes, or your toilets won't refill after you flush, you could be faced with frozen pipes.
To thaw out the pipes, you should:
- Find a heat source (blow dryer, space heater, or warm, water-soaked towels) to apply to the frosty area. Refrain from using any sort of open-flame product.
- Apply the heat until water pressure is back to normal. While you're thawing out, be sure to keep the faucet open so the ice-turned-water can flow out. The running water will also help the thawing process.
- Check all your other faucets to make sure there aren't other areas of frozen pipes.
- If you don't have success or can't find the source of the problem, contact a licensed plumber.
To prevent frozen pipes, the Red Cross recommends:
- Let water trickle from your faucets. Even if just a periodic drop of water is falling from the faucet, it helps keep the pipes from freezing.
- Keep your night thermostat setting the same as your day temperature. The extra cost of heating your house at night is a better value than dealing with burst pipes and a hefty plumbing bill.
- If you're traveling during the winter, don't let your house get colder than 55 degrees.
- If you have water supply lines in the garage, keep the garage door closed.
- Add insulation to your attic, basement and crawl spaces to help keep the temperatures warmer.
- Remove and drain outdoor hoses.
If you are faced with an emergency and come across a burst pipe, the first thing to do is to shut off your main water supply (everyone in your family should know where it's located). Begin mopping up and drying out what you can, keeping fans and dehumidifiers going. For extensive damage, you'll likely need to contact your insurance company.
For answers to your questions about frozen pipes or any other plumbing issue, contact the Pink Plumber today.
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