How are your pipes faring this winter? Is your plumbing well-insulated, or are you one oversight away from imminent disaster?
A burst pipe in your house can cause around 18 thousand dollars worth of damage. This includes the destruction of your belongings and the need to repair your plumbing. You can avoid having to pay up if you’re on top of water maintenance this winter, though.
Here’s how to tell if your pipes are frozen and on the verge of bursting.
1. Your Pipes Make Noise
Listen up. Can you hear your water pipes? If so, chances are you’re in the midst of a plumbing emergency. Pipes should only make noise if they’re attached to a certain musical instrument commonly played in Scotland. Likewise, your plumbing should only make a slight noise when water leaves a drain. If your pipes emit banging or gurgling noises, it’s time to call a plumber. When pipes make noise, their walls are expanding under pressure. It’s just a matter of time before they burst.
2. No Running Water
Did you know pipes freeze most frequently when homeowners are away during the winter? If you aren’t home to run the water, it’s at a greater risk of freezing. When you’re away, you aren’t aware of when temperatures hit below the freezing point. If you’re going away for the holidays this year, prepare your pipes for the winter.
Make sure that your pipes are properly insulated, especially those that are exposed. Ask a friend to visit your home and run some water every few days. This regulates the pipes’ temperature. When you turn a faucet on and water is at a trickle or a stand-still, you have a frozen pipe. If the blockage is near the faucet, you can try to clear it yourself. However, if the problem lies deeper in the pipes, it’s a job for a professional.
3. Frost and Condensation on the Pipes
Keep visual tabs on your pipes. Can you spot any condensation or frost? If so, the pipes are either frozen or getting there. As soon as temperatures outside hit below the freezing point, you should monitor your pipes on a daily basis. This is especially necessary if you live in a region prone to warm weather. For instance, homes down south are built to withstand a warm climate, therefore their pipes are exposed and thinly insulated. Those are the pipes that are most likely to burst.
4. How to Tell If Your Pipes Are Frozen for Sure: Bulging Pipes
If there’s one sure sign that your plumbing is in trouble, it’s bulging pipes. All of your water pipes should be straight, with no visible bulging. All swollen pipes are frozen and at the point of bursting. If one of your pipes looks thicker than it should, you have an emergency on your hands. Did you ever forget a water bottle in the freezer? You probably found it a day later, only to discover that the water bottle cracked and deformed around the block of ice. That’s precisely what happens to your pipes just before they burst.
When water freezes, it expands, causing the pipe to expand from inside as well. Once the water becomes a block of ice, the pipe can only burst at the seams.
Are You Facing a Plumbing Emergency?
Now that you know how to tell if your pipes are frozen, it’s time to troubleshoot the problem. Sometimes, you can fix the blocked pipes yourself. More often than not, though, you need professional help to contain the water damage and repair your plumbing. Contact us to find out how we can fix your latest plumbing crisis.