What Should I Do If My Pipes Are Freezing?

freezing pipes

Learn how to minimize the damage caused by frozen pipes before calling a Pittsburgh plumbing service.

Frozen pipes are not to be trifled with. When the temperature drops below freezing in Pittsburgh during the winter, many homes are at risk of having frozen pipes. Frozen pipes frequently burst, causing extensive damage to your home. Every year, many people are unfortunate enough to experience a burst frozen pipe and require the services of a Pittsburgh plumbing service for emergency repairs. However, not all frozen pipes burst, so if you suspect your pipes are frozen but have not yet burst, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the damage.

What Causes Frozen Pipes to Burst?

Since the winter gets so cold in Pittsburgh, plumbing systems are at a high risk of freezing

o avoid water damage in your home, pay close attention to your pipes in the winter.

Though most people know that a frozen pipe often leads to the pipe bursting, not a lot of homeowners know why this happens. When water freezes inside your pipes, it begins to expand. When the frozen water expands, it not only puts horizontal pressure on the pipes in your home, but also causes blockages. These blockages in your Pittsburgh plumbing only add to the pressure already exerted on your pipes by the freezing water.

Unluckily, in a lot of cases these pipes end up cracking slightly and causing your pipe to burst. When a pipe bursts, it often leads to thousands of dollars in damage to your home. So, what do you do if you suspect your pipes are frozen, but no damage has occured? 

How Can I Tell If My Pipes are Freezing?

If you suspect your pipes are freezing, you should call a Pittsburgh plumbing service as soon as possible

Any sign of ice or frost on your pipes is a cause for concern.

There are a few obvious visible signs that your pipes are freezing. The first sign to look out for is frost collecting on one or more of your pipes. The second visible sign is a bulging pipe that looks like it could burst if the issue isn’t addressed in time. However, since not every pipe in your home is visible, there are some more warning signs of frozen pipes that you should pay attention to.

When your pipes begin to freeze, you’ll likely experience poor water pressure in your faucets. Additionally, when you flush the toilet, it will be very slow to refill, or it won’t refill at all. If the temperature is especially cold, these are both signs that your pipes are freezing and that you should call an experienced plumber as soon as possible.

What Can I Do to Prevent a Frozen Pipe From Bursting?

If you can locate a frozen pipe, there are a few things you can do to prevent it from bursting

Homeowners can use a space heater to help thaw out frozen pipes.

When you locate a frozen pipe the first thing you need to do is shut off the water that feeds the pipe. Should the frozen pipe begin to thaw too quickly, the now freely moving water will gush through your pipe causing leaks and further damage. So, if you decide to try to thaw the frozen pipe yourself, you need to be well prepared for any leakage that could occur. To prevent any water damage as the pipe thaws, you should have buckets and towels in place just in case there is any leakage after the frozen water begins to melt.

Only after you prepare the area for any possible leaks should you proceed to thaw out your frozen pipe. There are two ways that you can proceed to try to warm up the frozen pipe and get your water flowing again. The first option is to use a home heat source, like a space heater or hair dryer to warm the area around the pipe. 

The second option is to use thermostatic heat tape to warm the area. To use thermostatic heat tape, simply wrap the tape around the affected area of the pipe. Once the tape is secured to the pipe, you can slowly adjust the temperature of the tape until the pipe begins to thaw. As always, if you suspect you may cause more damage by thawing out the pipe yourself, you should call an experienced plumber.

What Should I Do If a Pipe Bursts in My Home

Should you discover a burst pipe in your home, there are still a few things you can do to prevent further damage

If your pipe bursts, you need to take immediate action to minimize flooding.

When you discover a burst pipe in your home on a cold winter day you need to act quickly. The first, and most important thing you should do is shut off the water supply to your home. Only when you shut off the water supply will the flooding subside. In case of emergency situations like these, it is always a smart idea to know exactly where your water main shut off valve is located. The next thing you need to do is call a Pittsburgh plumbing service to assess the damage and begin making repairs to your pipes.

In the meantime, try to dry out as much of the area as you possibly can by using buckets, towels or anything else that can help soak up some of the water. It is also a good idea to put a dehumidifier near the affected area to help further dry out the affected area.

By using our tips, you can locate and hopefully prevent a burst pipe in your home this winter. However, if your pipe bursts there are still ways to minimize the damage before a professional arrives to address the problem. So, don’t ignore the warning signs of a frozen pipe this winter, or you could find yourself in the middle of a major plumbing malfunction.

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