Frozen pipes in Beach Park are not uncommon during the winter months. With the average winter temperature dipping to 21 degrees Fahrenheit at night, this is prime weather for a pipe to freeze. Whenever the temperature goes below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, there is a risk that pipes will freeze and it only takes six to eight hours on some days. You can take steps to prevent this from happening and reduce the risk of a winter plumbing emergency.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
Pipes freeze due to the water inside them getting too cold to remain in its liquid state. The pipes that are most vulnerable are those that face an exterior wall, since there is less material and heat between them and the bitter temperatures outside.
One of the biggest signs is the water simply not flowing as it is supposed to. One of your faucets may have water only trickling, or the water might not come out of the faucet at all.
- Visible bulge in a pipe
- Water stains on the ceilings or walls
- Pipe cracks and condensation
- Frost on the outside of a pipe
- Pipes making a whistling, banging, bubbling, or gurgling noise
- Strange smells from the drains or faucets
If you think you have a frozen pipe, you should turn off your water. If you can shut down the water going to just the particular pipe, that’s fine. If not, turn off the main valve terminating all the water flow going into your home. You can contact a professional to help with this and to get assistance with thawing out the frozen pipe.
Consequences of Frozen Pipes
If you have a frozen pipe and allow it to remain frozen, there is a risk of a variety of issues. Having a professional help with the frozen pipe as quickly as possible is best. This minimizes the risk of much bigger problems.
The greatest risk is that the pipe could burst, sending huge amounts of water surging through the affected area of your home. This could damage personal belongings and the structural integrity of your residence. For example, if there is a burst pipe in your ceiling, once the water saturates it, the ceiling could collapse. The same is true for walls and, in some cases, floors.
Over time, areas that are still wet can start to encourage the growth of mildew and mold. This usually requires a professional to ensure that your home is completely free of the contamination and repaired properly. Mildew and mold can present health hazards, especially for those with respiratory illnesses, so this is an issue you cannot wait to address.
If the water gets into an area with electrical components, it can cause immense damage. This could also lead to an electrical fire.
Any pipes that burst will require replacement. To properly do this, a professional will likely need to remove things like parts of your walls, floors, and ceilings. The job can be costly and time-consuming to complete. You might also have to replace certain plumbing fixtures, such as a toilet or a sink, depending on the affected pipe.
Preventing Pipes from Freezing
While there is no surefire way to completely prevent a pipe from freezing, there are some steps you can take to make it far less likely. First and foremost, make sure that your pipes have the proper insulation. A plumber can inspect your pipes and let you know where there are any insulation deficiencies that you need to address. This is especially important for any pipes located on one of your home’s exterior walls.
On cold days and nights, let your faucets drip just slightly. When the water in your pipes is flowing, it is less likely to freeze. You can also open up any cabinet doors to allow more heat to get to your pipes.
If you can drain some of your pipes, do this before it gets too cold. When water is not sitting inside the pipes, there is nothing that can freeze. You should also disconnect any garden hoses before the winter starts. You should put away these hoses and turn off the water supply from inside your home. Ideally, you should do this before the end of the fall season so that once the temperatures dip, you do not have to worry about it.
Have a professional come in and look for any air leaks. The warmer you can keep the inside of your home, the warmer your pipes will be, reducing the risk of freezing.
During the night when temperatures are typically the coldest, consider turning up your thermostat a few degrees. This extra heat could help to prevent pipes from freezing.
Unfreezing Frozen Pipes
If a pipe freezes, the best course of action is to call a professional plumber in to help. While you are waiting, there are a few simple things that you can do to improve the situation.
A hairdryer may help to thaw out a frozen pipe. Just turn it on and hold it near the section of pipe that is frozen. Use a back-and-forth motion so that the entire affected section gets heated.
A portable heater that does not have a flame can help. This is like the hairdryer, but since you do not have to hold it, it’s more convenient. Just make sure that during use it is not close to any fabrics, chemicals, or anything else flammable. Focus on the frozen section of the pipe to warm it.
Hot towels may be helpful. Wrap a hot towel around the frozen area of the pipe. Keep a close eye on the towel and replace it with another hot one once it cools down.
Never use anything that has an open flame to thaw a frozen pipe. This includes devices like a kerosene heater, a propane heater, or a blowtorch. A flame could do more harm than good, and it is a major fire hazard.
Can I Let Frozen Pipes Thaw on Their Own?
Yes, they will eventually thaw out on their own, but there is a lot of risk with the watchful waiting approach. When they are frozen, there is a risk of the pipes sustaining damage or bursting. It is never a good idea to just wait it out. You could end up with a big mess and a costly fix.
Expert Plumbing Service in Beach Park
Frozen pipes are the last thing you need to deal with during the cold Illinois winters. If you do have this issue, we can help you fix the problem and provide you with ways to prevent it from recurring in the future. Our trusted team of professionals can also help you with your boiler or furnace heating needs so that your home stays cozy even on the coldest winter days. In fact, we offer a complete line of HVAC and plumbing services.
Contact us at Modern Heating and Plumbing today for all your home’s plumbing needs in Beach Park or the surrounding area.