The PuroClean BlogCONTACT YOUR LOCAL OFFICE
All materials contract as they get colder and colder and become more dense until the point where they freeze. Water is very unique. When it freezes, it actually expands and becomes less dense! That is why ice floats on top of water – it is less dense. This expansion is truly a Force of Nature – nothing can stop the 11% expansion. When the water is contained, as it is inside of a pipe, this expansion will rupture the pipe (or any other container – consider a frozen can of soda or bottle of wine)!
Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to the cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like attics and crawl spaces, garages, or cabinets on exterior walls. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have insufficient or no insulation are also subject to freezing. Frozen water pipes often result in significant to extreme water damage and the cost to repair can often be huge! The following tips can help both prevent frozen pipes and thaw those that are already frozen:
Specific products made to insulate water pipes, like a “pipe sleeve” or UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials can be installed on exposed water pipes. If no one will be home for an extended period of time during cold weather, the heat in the home should be left on, set to a temperature no lower than 50° F. The Master Valve to the home should be shut off. All taps should be left “open.” If the home loses power, the open valves will help prevent pipes from bursting, and the “shut-off” Master Valve means that even if there is a break, the result will be minor, compared to an open line running wild! Even with all of the above measures, homeowners should arrange for a neighbor to walk through the home daily – just to keep an eye on unforeseen events!
What can be done if a pipe is suspected to be frozen?
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THE FAUCET IS OPEN AND THAT THAWING BEGINS ON THE FAUCET SIDE. If the heat is placed in the “middle” of a frozen section, that section will melt. Since both sides are still frozen, that water may turn to steam and could cause the pipe to explode! When starting next to the faucet, any water (or steam) can escape through that faucet and help prevent damage/harm.
Regardless of the circumstances — dealing with broken pipes or other water damage, puff-backs or other fire/smoke damage, odors, mold remediation, or even biohazard remediation – call your local PuroClean office, The Paramedics of Property Damage. For all property damage situations, these professionals are standing by. They will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and will then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All PuroClean offices have well-trained professional technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.