Busted pipes are a nightmare anywhere they occur. When pipes burst, they release gallons of water that can damage your floor and walls and, on multilevel structures, leak through to the lower rooms. The good news is that a proactive approach to your pipe maintenance this winter season can help prevent this from happening.
When water freezes, the molecules change shape. Frozen water arranges itself into patterns with microscopic pockets of air. These pockets make solid water — ice — less dense than water in its liquid state, causing the volume to increase. With nowhere to expand to, the ice creates enormous pressure on your pipes until, eventually, they burst at their weakest point.
In most cases, pipes will start freezing if outside temperatures fall below 20 degrees for six consecutive hours or more. Insulation can offer some protection for pipes, but its capability will vary, and not all plumbing systems have it. If the temperature drops far enough, you’re going to have to step in either way with some simple measures.
Keeping one or two sink faucets running is usually enough to prevent a bursting pipe. Moving water is less likely to freeze, and you can run yours at warmer temperatures for added protection.
Hoses contain the most exposed water in your system. This water is the first to freeze when things get cold, and the expanding ice will travel back through your lines where it could lead to severe pipe damage.
If you feel cold air getting into the building, insulate the entry site using the appropriate materials. You can replace your weatherstripping, place new caulking or look at installing new doors and windows.
A more direct approach to bursting pipe prevention is insulating your pipes yourself. Products like foam insulation, heat tape and heat cables all do an excellent job keeping water above freezing, and you can install them in minutes.
Keep your interior doors open. This practice will help heat travel throughout the whole structure, keeping cold air off your walls and away from your pipes. If you have a garage, keep that door closed to seal things up.
Keep the thermostat running even if you’re away. While it might be tempting to turn it off to cut down on energy costs, what you might end up saving pales in comparison to the expenses caused by bursting pipes.
If the forecast calls for exceptionally cold weather or you’re planning to leave town, turn off the main valve. Shutting off the main valve and draining the water from your pipes will eliminate the chance of them freezing.
While a busted pipe is a headache, we can help lessen the impact with professional disaster response services. At Unlimited Restoration, we serve the commercial business and property management sectors with rapid water damage repair for busted pipes. We also offer disaster planning and training services that provide you with valuable skills and give our teams an action plan for your property if you ever have to make the call.
Send us a message today to set up your plan with URI at no cost to you. For emergency water damage repair, please call our 24/7 hotline at 888.327.9664.