How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
With the snowpocalypse among us, there's a chance that pipes will start to freeze and potentially burst - a deep concern for many homeowners. Thankfully, Schuber Mitchell homes come with PEX plumbing. PEX has several advantages to other types of piping such as CPVC, as it is less likely than CPVC to burst if it freezes. Taking steps to keep your pipes protected can be a tedious job, but can prevent further maintenance on your home in the long run.
Today we sat down with our service managers, and they're here to give you some helpful tips on how to keep your pipes in tip top shape when temperatures start to drop!
First thing's first: how do pipes freeze?
As temperatures drop, water begins to freeze, and water pipes are particularly susceptible to freezing. But a frozen pipe is more than an inconvenience. Water pipes that freeze are at risk of rupturing, leading to leaks and, at times, even flooding.
If the water inside your home's pipes freeze, it expands, putting the whole system at risk. However, the pipe rarely bursts where ice has formed — instead, freezing portions of the pipe force pressure “downstream,” between the faucet and the ice blockage. This is where the pipe bursts — usually, in places without any ice at all.
Wind chill plays a significant role in freezing pipes, too. If unheated spaces have holes, cracks or openings that allow cold outside air to blow in, the cooling effect often accelerates ice formation. Even small openings can allow a dangerous amount of cold air into a structure, like the small holes that let telephone, cable, internet or television lines enter a room. Keep reading for Scott's frozen pipe prevention tips!
Keep garage doors closed
This tip is especially important if water supply lines go through the garage. People often crack their garage doors to allow pets or strays to escape the cold, but even that can cause problems. Having your garage door open creates a draft that can freeze the water in your HVAC closet drain making your next load of laundry a real chore. Keeping your door closed helps protect plumbing within the garage from drafts that can cause freezing.
Remove hoses from pipes
Even if you have a “frost-free” spigot, you still need to remove the hose in the winter. When you leave your garden hose attached, water within the pipe can freeze, which creates leaks on the inside wall of your home when it starts to warm up outside. When temperatures dip, ice takes up nearly 10% more space than the same amount of liquid water does. Unfortunately, in the case of a water pipe, there’s no room for expansion. The result is burst pipes, broken valves and joints, or all of the above.
Keep your faucets dripping
Moving water freezes slower than standing water, so keep those faucets dripping. You don’t have to turn on every faucet in your home - just determine which ones are fed by exposed piping. Once you’ve narrowed that down, leave those few faucets on during especially bitter weather like we're experiencing now.
Running water through the pipe—even the tiniest little drip—can make a big difference because the movement of water will help prevent ice blockages from forming in your plumbing.
Our service team is here for you!
Preparing your home for the maintenance that inclement weather brings, especially frozen pipes, is worth it. Questions about preventative maintenance on your home? Our Service Team is here for you. Contact our Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri teams anytime.