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Downs Blog

February 2014

Frozen Pipes & Broken Pipes

                                           Frozen Pipes

One of the largest concerns during the winter is frozen pipes. Non-insulated pipes within exterior walls or in crawl spaces can freeze during days with sub-freezing temperatures. As you may know when water freezes it expands. This expansion presses against the walls of the pipes and if it continues the pipes may burst! This bursting can allow hundreds of gallons of water into your home, causing severe damage to walls, carpets, ceiling, etc.

In order to avoid frozen pipes in the winter be sure that all of your exposed waterlines are properly insulated before temperatures drop. Types of insulation you can use include heat tapefoam rubber sleeves, or fiberglass insulation in either roll or sheet form. Also, make sure all garden hoses are detached and sprinkler systems are turned off and blown out. If you are concerned about freezing being a problem and would like to have a professional inspect your home and get it prepared for winter we would be happy to come out and take a look. Just give us a call at 609-815-5144.

                             What if I Have a Broken Pipe?

If you have a pipe that has burst, immediately cut off the main water supply. This will prevent the water from continuing to gush out into your home. Once it’s been shut off immediately call your preferred plumbing service provider to set up an appointment to have the pipe repaired.

                             Thawing a Frozen Pipe

You may be able to thaw your frozen pipes before an emergency arises. First, identify which pipe is frozen. You’ll know a pipe is frozen if on a faucet and no water comes out or only trickles out. Follow the pipe from the non-working faucet and search for any sections in which appears to have frost or exterior ice. If you feel the pipe, the frozen section will be much colder than other areas. Look closely at the section for any bulges and feel for cracks. If there is a crack, you will need to call J Downs Plumbing for repair.If you’ve escaped a pipe break so far, you may be able to thaw it out – even without having to tear out walls or paneling. Simply crank up the heat in your home to a higher setting and wait. You can also direct a heat lamp, space heater, or infrared heat lamp at the section of wall where the pipe is located. Be careful not to place heat lamps too close to the wall or unattended, they may cause spontaneous fires. Leave your faucet in the “on” position, and once you hear running water, you’ll know the pipe is thawing.If the frozen pipe is located outside your home, or if it’s otherwise exposed, do not turn off the water supply to your home before you begin thawing the frozen pipe. You also should start the thawing process from the tap back to the frozen section. If you begin thawing behind the ice, the water that’s released will have nowhere to go because it will still be blocked by ice in the frozen pipe.