Even if you have never had frozen pipes in your Cincinnati homes, changes in weather patterns mean that you should take some time to make sure your plumbing system is properly winterized. Frozen pipes are the most common reason that homeowners request emergency repairs from Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.
Why Your Pipes Freeze
Waking up on a cold winter morning only to find out that your pipes are frozen can make an uncomfortable day miserable. Pipes that are buried deep in the ground have the benefit of thermal energy from the Earth, but those that are closer to the surface or exposed are more prone to freezing. Pipes freeze for the same reason that any other water freezes during the winter. As the water freezes, it expands, and this is why your pipes clog and burst.
Damage Caused by Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are more than a nuisance for many homeowners in the Cincinnati area. As the water continues to freeze and expand, it doesn’t stop once it reaches the edges of the pipe. It will continue to expand until the pipe breaks. Water leaks through the breaks, causing higher water use and damaging the structure of your home, as well as your belongings. If the water damage is not remedied correctly, you could end up with mold.
How To Prevent Frozen Pipes
You can take steps before wintertime to reduce the chances of frozen and burst pipes. Insulating exposed pipes is an affordable option for Cincinnati homeowners. You can find wraps at a local hardware store, but this may not be enough. Your best option is to schedule an appointment with a technician from Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We check your entire plumbing system to find problems that may increase the chances of frozen and burst pipes in the winter. We can also insulate the exposed pipes better than what you can do on your own.
What To Do During Freezing Temperatures
Even when you take steps to protect your pipes from freezing temperatures in the winter, we recommend that you follow some steps when the weather forecast indicates colder nights. Each night before you go to bed, turn on every faucet to let a rapid drip of water. This keeps water moving through your pipes, and moving water is less likely to freeze. We also recommend that you open the cabinets under your bathroom and kitchen faucets to let the warm air circulate around the pipes. Keep your thermostat higher than 55° F throughout your entire home. You should also keep your garage door during the winter. The cold air can reach exposed pipes and those that are just inside the walls.
Signs That Your Pipes Are Frozen
If you wake up in the morning and find a faucet that is not dripping water, the pipe may have frozen overnight. Slowly turn on the faucet just a little. If no water comes out, you have a frozen pipe. Turn off all faucets and contact us right away to have a technician come by and check your plumbing system. A more obvious sign that your pipes are frozen is a burst pipe.
How To Thaw Frozen Pipes
If you find that your pipes are frozen, you can try a few things to get the water running again. Use a blow dryer to apply heat to the pipe under the sink. Do not use any form of flame, such as a blow torch. If you still have hot water, soak some towels and wrap them around the pipes. It will take some time for the pipe to thaw enough to let water flow. Once you have one faucet working, move on to the next one in your home that seems to be frozen.
Frozen Outdoor Pipes
Frozen outdoor pipes are a bit more difficult to remedy for the typical homeowner in Cincinnati. Water pressure is not as regulated as inside your home, so the damage can be more significant if the issue is not taken care of properly. If you suspect that the exterior pipes of your plumbing system are frozen, we can get to your home quickly and take care of the problem.
Help for Frozen Pipes and Other Plumbing Needs
If you have frozen pipes, Wingate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here to help! Give us a call, and we will send someone over. We also offer installation, repairs, and maintenance services for all your heating, cooling, plumbing needs. Be sure to ask about our appliance repairs, indoor air quality services, and duct cleaning.