Prevent Frozen Pipes | Plumber Arlington
Water lines in southern climates are often more vulnerable to freezing during cold snaps than those in northern homes. This is due to the pipes in southern homes being more likely to be located in unprotected areas. Extreme cold isn’t routine in the south, and may occur no more than twice during the winter season in some areas. In the following a look is taken at how frozen pipes may occur, what the homeowner can do to prevent frozen pipes and when to call a plumber in Arlington.
Water lines located in attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls are susceptible to freezing; especially when conditions exist that allow winters cold air to flow over the pipes. For example, holes created for the entry of cables and telephone lines provide cold air access that can lead to frozen pipes. Never use foam or general caulking around furnace flues or other hot surfaces. Special high temperature sealants are available for hot surfaces.
At What Temperature Do Pipes Freeze?
The Building Council located at the University of Illinois has conducted research into frozen pipes, and establishes the threshold un-insulated pipes in an attic without heat occurred when the outdoor temperature was 20 degrees F or below.
The general agreement among a survey of southern plumbers established that burst-pipes began to occur when the outdoor temperature fell into the teens. However, uninsulated pipe exposed to the flow of cold air can freeze at temperatures above 20 degrees F.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
The ideal prevention of frozen pipes is to locate them only in heated spaces, by keeping them out of attics, crawlspaces and exterior walls. This can be incorporated into new builds, but existing construction will need to properly attend pipes to prevent freezing. When your home is repiped, provides a practical time for a plumber in Arlington to reroute vulnerable water lines.
Properly insulate pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping. The more insulation that is applied, the less likely pipes are to freeze. It’s essential to ensure that no gaps remain, exposing pipes to cold air.
Sealing Air Intrusions
Openings in the exterior walls and/or foundation near water lines should be sealed. Close foundation vents, and if they allow air flow into the crawlspace, cover them with plastic or other material. Use caulking or expanding foam to seal the holes around cables, telephone lines or other intrusions. Expanding foam will typically provide a better sealant as it expands to fill gaps. Inspect to ensure all cracks are sealed by the foam.
Electric heating tape and cables are a good means of preventing frozen pipes. However, during power outages, they will be ineffective. Furthermore, ensure you follow the manufacturer’s instruction to prevent the risk of fire, and that the product conforms to UL 2049. A built in thermostat is a bonus for this product, ensuring they cut on when needed, rather than being dependent upon the homeowner to plug them in as needed.
During extreme cold spells, open cabinet doors where water lines are present to allow the warm air to circulate around pipes. This is especially important for water lines located on exterior walls.
A dripping tap will help to prevent burst pipes. Where pipes are susceptible to freezing, ensure both hot and cold taps drip. If the drip stops leave the faucet open to provide pressure relief in the event a pipe has frozen.
When Frozen Pipes Occur
After a cold snap, if you turn a tap on and no water is provided, call a plumber in Arlington.
If you try to thaw the pipe yourself, use a hand held hair dryer. An open flame can damage the pipe and may start a fire.
When using a hair dryer consider safety first. Don’t use an electrical appliance while standing in water to avoid life threatening shock. Begin at the faucet end of the pipe and work your way back, applying heat slowly. A call to a Benjamin Franklin plumber in Arlington to thaw frozen pipes is the best choice. If damage has occurred, the plumber in Arlington is already on site to provide the plumbing repair.
If a pipe has burst, turn the water main off at the shut off valve or the meter. Leave the faucet open and call a Benjamin Franklin plumber in Arlington for reliable repair.
Away for the Holidays
If you will be away during the winter don’t lower the heat below 55 degrees F to help avoid frozen pipes and potential leaks when they thaw.
An excellent alternative to prevent frozen pipes during severe cold is to drain the water pipes. To drain the water lines shut off the water main and turn on every tap, both hot and cold lines until the water stops flowing. Then turn the taps off.
When you return home turn the water main back on and allow each fixture to run to release the air and fill the pipes with water.
Exterior Pipes and Faucets
Outside pipes and faucets should be drained if possible. Otherwise wrap exterior plumbing with insulation or pipe sleeves or wrap, and cover with a waterproof bag. Cover with a bucket if located on the ground to assist in keeping the insulation dry. The installation of shut-off valves by a plumber in Arlington is good insurance against frozen exterior pipes.
Faucet covers typically work well for wall mounted faucets, though in extreme cold weather, adding extra insulation over the cover and securing with a waterproof bag can help prevent freezing. Remember don’t wrap insulation tightly to preserve its qualities.
Finally, before wrapping pipes for the winter have all leaks repaired by a plumber in Arlington. Wet insulation loses its qualities to insulate, as will insulation compressed by wrapping tightly.
For a reliable plumber in Arlington, trust Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. Our plumbers are known for their expertise and commitment to quality service and satisfied customers. We support our commitment with a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all plumbing repair. We are a member of the BBB with an A+ rating. Our dedicated plumbers serve Fort Worth, Arlington and surrounding areas.