Eliminate Your Fears And Doubts About Burst Pipes

 

Woman collecting leaking water from ceiling in living room.

For many homeowners, burst pipes are a real fear. Individuals worry they will damage their homes, increase their insurance premiums, and in extreme cases, force them to move out temporarily.

Burst pipes rarely occur because of wear and tear or old age. Instead, they happen when water in pipes freezes and then expands, cracking the surrounding material.

How To Prevent Burst Pipes

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to eliminate your fears and doubts about burst pipes and reduce the risk of water damage. Here’s what you need to know.

Monitor The Temperature Of Your Home

It would be best if you kept temperatures above 32°F in your home to prevent pipes from freezing. Lower than that, water will turn to ice, causing the cracking described above.

Most homeowners keep their heating to around 68°F when at home and 55°F if they are away on vacation. Setting the thermostat to this level should eliminate the risk of bursting interior pipes.

Seal Cold Leaks

Pipes next to cold leaks are at a significantly higher risk of bursting. Cool outdoor air runs over them, counteracting any warming effect from your heating, risking frozen water.

Therefore, you’ll want to check your home’s exterior for any signs of cold leaks. Look for gaps where drafts could occur and plug them. Even a temporary fix is better than waiting until spring.

Wrap Pipes In Insulation Or Heat Tape

Wrapping pipes in insulation protects them from the worst of the cold weather. The water inside remains warm for far longer compared to fully exposed piping.

Installing insulation is something you can do yourself. However, you will get better coverage and results if you use professionals.

Keep Your Water Running

In extreme cold situations, it’s a good idea to keep your faucets running twenty-four-seven, particularly if the outdoor air temperature drops below 0°F.

This way, you can move water through cold sections of the pipe, preventing it from freezing. You don’t need to run faucets on maximum. Simply allowing them to drip should suffice.

Replace Pipes Often

Some pipe materials are at a higher risk of leaking than others. Older pipes are at higher risk of bursting than newer ones since the material is less likely to have fatigue. Therefore, replace older lines on a regular schedule. Ask experts whether they believe you might be at risk of a leak for peace of mind.

Add More Insulation To The Rest Of Your Home

Adding more insulation to your home increases the overall temperature, making it less likely your pipes will burst during a freeze. Consider laying new insulation in the basement, attic, and crawl spaces.

The material will maintain high temperatures in those areas, reducing the risk of drafts, seal cracks, and openings transforming water inside pipes to ice.

How To Thaw A Frozen Pipe

If water trickles out of your faucet slowly during a freeze, there is a good chance you have a frozen pipe. At this stage, you need to be careful. Frozen pipes usually have cracks, so thawing them could cause water to flow into your home.

To unfreeze a pipe safely:

  1. Shut off the mains water valve to your home
  2. Turn the faucet on associated with a particular pipe.
  3. Apply heat to the affected area of the pipe using a hair dryer or space heater or by wrapping towels soaked in hot water around the affected section
  4. Keep heating until you restore the water pressure.

If you can’t find the frozen area, call a plumber. They can perform a more forensic investigation of your pipe situation and locate the frozen section. They can also safely thaw a pipe and reduce the risk of it splitting.

How To Deal With Water Damage If Your Pipe Bursts

Sometimes, frozen pipes in winter are inevitable. Temperatures drop so low that even the most diligent homeowners can’t prevent damage.

In these situations, you will need to be vigilant. If you notice a tell-tale drop in water pressure from your faucets, switch off your mains water valve and inspect pipework for frozen sections and leaks.

If you have water damage, you can call specialist repair experts who understand how to correct it. Switching the general supply off and replacing the cracked section is a simple and affordable job. Usually, you can limit damage to the area immediately around the damaged pipe.