Dealing With Frozen Pipes


San Jose PlumberWhy Does a Plumbing System Freeze?

Extreme winter weather conditions with days of acute subfreezing temperatures can play havoc on your home’s plumbing system by causing pipes to freeze, limiting or preventing water from reach certain areas, and even in extreme circumstances, bursting and creating water damage to surrounding structures.

Some pipes are prone to freezing because of their location. Pipes that are most at risk for freezing are those located in unheated areas of your home, those located within exterior walls and any plumbing that may be located outside of your home.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen PipeA little preventive maintenance can go a long way to avoid frozen pipes. On the outside of your home, disconnect garden hoses before the first hard freeze. Leaving hoses in place with residual water can caused increased pressure throughout your entire plumbing system if the water inside freezes. If spigots are not frost proof, close the interior shut-off valve leading to that faucet, open and drain the spigot, and install a faucet insulator.

Exposed pipes are also at risk, except for those in the basement as these are in a heated portion of your house. Exposed pipes that are located in your attic, garage or crawl space could be at risk. Often, simply wrapping those pipes in expensive foam insulation is enough for moderately cold climates, while homes in more severe climates may need pipes wrapped with thermostatically controlled heat tape.

For pipes that run along an exterior wall, homeowners need to be creative when extreme cold weather hits. Try keep cabinet doors open to allow extra heat to reach pipes. Fans can be used to circulate air, while space heaters placed near the pipes can also help. Another trick is to keep pipe open by allowing a small stream of water to flow through the faucets, although this method wastes water.

Consequences of Frozen Pipes

Sometimes when homeowners experience frozen pipes they try to remedy the problem themselves. While attempting to thaw the pipes with a hairdryers is acceptable, doing the job with a blow torch is dangerous as you can start a fire to the surrounding area. Because frozen water expands, pipes can easily burst, causing flooding. Water damage that occurs when homeowners are absent can have particularly serious circumstances as resulting damage can run into thousands of dollars, necessitating structural replacement and removal of harmful and dangerous molds.

Is the cold San Jose winter making you think about the security of your plumbing system? Call Rayne Plumbing & Sewer Inc. today at (408) 283-0600 for top quality frozen pipe services. 

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