WHAT CAUSES FROZEN PIPES?
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
The water inside pipes can freeze when temperatures drop below freezing. As freezing water expands, it causes the pressure inside the pipes to increase. With enough expansion, regardless of the strength of most metal and plastic pipes the expanding water can cause pipes to crack or break. The cracks may not be visible but they will leak nonetheless when the ice melts. If a frozen section of pipe is caught in time, there may be no damage; but it must be thawed before any more freezing occurs!
Most often frozen pipes occur to those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation could also be problem areas to freezing as well.
What Actions can you take to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes?
Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions
Insulate pipes, especially those close to outside walls, attics or crawl spaces where the chance of freezing is greatest
Seal cold air leaks surrounding or near pipes
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
Disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off water to exterior faucets and sprinkler systems
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate in the cabinet around the plumbing
Keep heat at a minimum of 55 degrees or higher even when you are out of town
During a cold spell turn on both hot and cold faucets near outside walls to allow a small trickle of water to run during the night (be careful not to waste too much water though)
If you need to be away from home, leave the heat on (as mentioned above) and drain your water pipes/system before you go.
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