Beware the unexpected cold snap or deep freeze. For Alaskans that can be a good share of the winter! Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water which provides no place for the ice to expand.
When the pipe bursts it will spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to a home.
Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when located:
1. In an outside wall;
2. Under a sink on an outside wall;
3. In an unheated crawlspace.
There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring.
Leave the faucet drip slightly as a trickle. The dripping water will keep the water in the pipe from freezing.
When pipes are frozen you’ll find that when you turn the faucet on no water will come out or it will flow out in a trickle. As soon as you realize a pipe is frozen you need to take immediate action.
If the pipe burst (even if still frozen without leaking) then immediately shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the water main.
Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe even if you do not yet know where it is frozen. Identify the frozen water supply pipe and find the location of the blockage. Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas such as an exterior wall, unheated crawl space or in some cases an unheated basement if the pipe is near an outside wall. Often the frozen area of the pipe will be frosted or have ice on it. If the situation is getting critical the pipe may be slightly bulged or look slightly fissured.
Better safe than sorry. Serious plumbing issues should not be a DIY project. It is best to have a professional come out and assess the situation. Calling a professional plumber or a reputable restoration company like TCM Restoration & Cleaning is who a homeowner should call right away. They can recommend thawing or whatever repairs are necessary. If the pipes are frozen and burst a restoration company would be immediately needed to extract & dry out the home ASAP so no further damage would occur. We respond 24 hour a day to water damage emergencies and here to help.