Did you know that around 29.4% of home insurance claims were related to freezing and water damage? While some home owner’s insurance policies might cover frozen pipes or plumbing, that’s not something you’ll want to deal with during the winter.
One of the last things you want to encounter during the chilly months is a frozen pipe. Frozen pipes are one of the biggest headaches you can encounter during winter. Unfortunately, they’re a common occurrence for Denver residents.
Planning can help you avoid dealing with a frozen pipe. This guide will discuss how to navigate winter plumbing in Colorado.
What Causes a Pipe to Freeze?
One of water’s unique properties is that it expands when it freezes. As it expands, it starts to put pressure on whatever is keeping it contained. This includes plastic or metal pipes.
No matter how strong a pipe is, expanding water can cause creaks and breakage on its surface. Some of the types of pipes that freeze most often include:
- Pipes along exterior walls with no or very little insulation
- Water pipes in unheated spaces like attics, basements, garages, etc.
- Pipes exposed to the cold, like water sprinkler lines, hose bibs, and swimming pool lines
Sudden temperature drops can also cause your pipes to freeze. Having your thermostat set too low for your conditions can also result in this problem.
How to Protect Your Pipes
Freezing pipes are one of the most common plumbing issues in CO. There are some things you can do to protect the pipes inside and outside of your home.
You should drain the water from your water sprinkler and swimming pool supply lines. Don’t put antifreeze in the lines. Antifreeze is harmful to the environment, landscaping, pets, humans, and wildlife.
Put additional insulation in your crawl spaces, basements, and attics. The insulation will help increase the temperature in these known cold spots.
You should also store your outdoor houses during the winter. Close the inside valves that supply water to your outdoor hose bibs. Keep the hose bibs open, so water can drain.
Another step to take is to check our house for water supply lines in unheated locations. Check under bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and your garage. These pipes should be properly insulated.
You can also install pipe sleeves around your pipes for additional insulation. Wrapping them in a newspaper can provide some protection to your exposed pipes. Plumbers in CO can provide you with tips that are specific to your home and pipes.
Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Don’t wait for your pipes to freeze before taking action. Prevent them from occurring in the first place with a few preventative measures.
If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep your garage doors closed during the winter. Keeping them closed will trap warm air inside your garage, regulating the temperature.
Open bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate your pipes. Remove household chemicals and cleaners before you do this. You don’t want young children and pets to have access to those items.
If the weather is very cold, let some cold water drip from your faucets. Running water through your pipes, even if it’s a small amount, helps prevent freezing pipes.
Another thing you should do is keep your thermostat set to the same temperature at night and during the day. You might have a higher energy bill, but you’ll ensure your pipes don’t experience drastic fluctuations in temperature.
Leave the heat on in your home if you’re going to be away for long periods. Don’t set the temperature lower than 55°.
How Can I Thaw a Frozen Pipe?
If only a trickle of water comes out of your pipe, it might be frozen. You need to be careful thawing a frozen pipe. If the pipe has burst, water will flow out and cause flooding.
If you have a broken pipe, turn off your water at its main shutoff valve. The main shutoff valve is usually located where the water line enters the house or at the water meter. If you still have running water and no burst pipes, you can take steps to thaw them.
Contact a reputable plumbing expert in CO if you’re afraid you have a serious plumbing issue.
Turn on Your Faucets
As you thaw your pipes, you’ll want water to be flowing through. Running cold water through your pipes can help melt the ice.
There are a few different ways you can apply heat to a frozen pipe. They include:
- Hair dryer
- Portable space heater
- Heating pad
- Towels soaked in warm water
Don’t use a propane or kerosene heater, blowtorch, or anything with an open flame to thaw a frozen pipe. The high heat might start a fire or damage your pipes.
Keep applying heat until your water pressure is back to normal. Check other faucets in your home to make sure you don’t have any other frozen pipes. If one pipe is frozen, odds are another one is as well.
Contact a licensed plumber in CO if you can’t find the frozen pipe. Get in touch with them if you can’t thaw or access it.
Call Doctor Fix It Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric to Help With a Frozen Pipe
A frozen pipe can wreak havoc on your home during the coldest part of the year. Preparing your home and plumbing for winter in CO is essential to avoiding unforeseen plumbing problems.
If you’ve been searching for a “plumber near me” but haven’t found one, look no further than Doctor Fix It Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We provide HVAC and plumbing services to Denver, Littleton, Aurora, and other cities in CO. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a leading Colorado plumbing company.