Frozen Pipes And Water Damage

water damage restoration houstonHere in Houston, we don’t have to worry about freezing temperatures too often. That being said, with the recent December Gail that brought very low temperatures and the threat of a hard freeze, many homeowners were caught off guard by just how quickly and easily pipes can freeze. Here is a brief rundown on what to do the next time we get below-freezing weather to safeguard your home from needing water damage restoration as a result of frozen pipes.

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First things first, you need to know why frozen pipes are such a serious problem. The expansion from frozen water puts an extreme amount of unnecessary pressure on the pipes in your home, which is what eventually causes pipes to burst or leak – allowing water to pour out into your home. Pipes that are most prone to freezing are:

  1. Pipes that are subject to sudden drops in temperature such as sprinkler lines, pool supply lines, and outdoor hose bibs
  2. Water supply pipes in internal but non-heated locations such as garages, attics, basements, or underneath kitchen or bathroom cabinets
  3. Pipes that are located near exterior walls with insufficient insulation

Focusing on pipes that fall into the above categories, here are some steps you can take to protect them from freezing when the next winter storm heads our way:

  • In accordance with the installer’s instructions, drain water from the supply lines for sprinklers and swimming pools.
  • Hoses used outside should be unhooked, drained, and stored until the freezing temperatures pass.
  • Close the internal hose bib supply valves and open the exterior hose bib to allow any remaining water in the pipe to expand without breaking it.
  • Consider adding insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces to reduce the effects of sudden temperature drops.
  • For those pipes that are at risk, you can install insulation like pipe sleeves or coverings, heat tape, heated cables, or other forms of insulation directly on the pipes. Don’t have access to pipe insulation? Even 14” of newspaper can offer significant protection in instances where a sudden cold front moves in – especially if freezing temperatures are not forecasted to be prolonged.
  • If you have water supply lines in the garage, keep the garage doors closed to try to trap in as much warm air as possible.
  • Open the doors to the cabinets under the kitchen or bathroom sinks to let the warm air move in and around the pipes
  • Allow the cold water to trickle from the faucet that is served by pipes located along the exterior walls of the home when the temperature drop below freezing to keep the water flowing through the pipes – moving water, even just a trickle, will not freeze. 

Does all this seem like a little much considering the fact that freezing weather is not a common occurrence for us? Trust us when we say that preventative steps are much less inconvenient than water damage restoration from frozen pipes. That being said, at 24/7 Restoration Specialists, water damage restoration is our specialty and we can help get your home back to normal whether your damage is from a burst pipe or any other source.