What Causes Pipes to Freeze?

One of the worst things on the planet is waking up on a cold, winter?s morning and having no water. Frozen pipes happen all too frequently, and always at the worst possible time. And the plumber is going to charge you a small fortune to fix frozen pipes.

That means no shower, no coffee, and likely no breakfast. Calling the plumber is the last thing anyone wants to do. The good news is that many times, you can fix frozen pipes yourself. But knowing when to call in a pro and how to prevent frozen pipes is also good.

Just a brief list of preventative measures:

We?ll discuss each of those with a more in-depth look later.

Recommended Read: How to Unclog a Toilet Without a Plunger

The extent of the damage you experience can range from mild to extreme. Locate the area of the frozen pipe first. Most often, this will be in a basement or the crawl space under your home. For homes on a slab foundation, most of the piping is likely routed through the attic.

Insulate susceptible piping

Insulate susceptible piping
Heat the space around piping
Leave your water trickling on freeze nights

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Hairdryer with adjustable heat settings or heat gun

Small area electric heater

Hairdryer with adjustable heat settings or heat gun
Small area electric heater
An electric heating pad
A cookie sheet or other reflective surface

If pipes are merely frozen but not broken or cracked, you can repair them by thawing the pipes.

Freezing water expands. When trapped inside a solid object, such as a pipe, this expansion can cause piping to burst. As seen in the image below, ice has expanded just above a joint, leaving behind a gaping wound.

Image from Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 3.0 license

There are many instances in which a homeowner can complete repairs. We do recommend contacting a professional at any point that you feel overwhelmed.

What Happens When You Don?t Fix Frozen Pipes?

Many homeowner?s insurance policies have provisions for frozen pipe repair. Check your policy and be aware of those before beginning your repair. In some cases, a failed home fix-it may void insurance coverage, so please read your policy carefully.

Having a flooded basement is never fun. If you have a heated basement, you usually won?t experience frozen pipes along most of your piping. You may have problems with lines leading to outdoor fixtures.

If It Looks Like Ice, It Probably Is Ice

Image from Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0

Last update on 2021-09-18 at 01:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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