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The freezing temperatures that come with Eau Claire winters can prove detrimental to the pipes in your home. Water damage from frozen pipes can prove detrimental. It is important for homeowners to understand everything they need to know about frozen pipes and why they are so dangerous. It is also helpful to know how to spot signs that a pipe is actually frozen.
What makes frozen pipes so dangerous?
Not only are frozen pipes inconvenient, but they can also cause some pretty serious dangers to your home. The most obvious danger of a frozen pipe is the lack of running water. Inability to access running water can hinder daily tasks and functionality in the home. Another potential danger of a frozen pipe is damage to the pipe itself. As water inside the pipe freezes, it also expands. This expansion puts strain on the walls of the pipe and causes a build up of pressure. Since pipes are not elastic, they can only handle so much pressure before they burst. If a pipe bursts, once that water thaws it will leak out and flood your home causing some serious water damage. Water damage can lead to mold growth and can threaten the integrity of your walls, floors, ceiling, or anywhere the water damage occurs.
Which pipes are more vulnerable to freezing?
There are definitely some pipes that are more prone to freeze than others. Pipes located in areas that do not have heat (or have less heat than living areas in your home) like garages, crawl spaces, attics, or exterior walls of the home are more vulnerable than pipes centrally located in the home. Any areas of the home that lack insulation and have no heat source to maintain the temperature are areas where pipes are more likely to freeze. Pipes that are in areas that are less frequently used, or are not living spaces, like basements or storage rooms, are also more vulnerable to freezing because they do not receive the same amount of heat as more inhabited areas of your home.
How can you tell if a pipe is frozen?
The first sign of a frozen pipe is the lack of running water when the faucet is turned on. If no water is coming out of the faucet, or only a very small trickle of water is coming out, your pipe is probably frozen. You can investigate further by looking for frost on pipes that can be seen (those that are under sinks and bathroom cabinets). Look for frost or excess water accumulation on the exterior of the pipe – this is a warning sign that the pipe is in fact frozen.
How can I keep my pipes from freezing?
Pipes cannot freeze if they do not get cold enough. When the temperature drops to 32 degrees fahrenheit or lower, you need to begin to take precautions to keep vulnerable pipes from freezing. One of the easiest ways to prevent pipes from freezing is to keep a slow, steady drip of water coming from the faucet. Standing water in pipes is what will freeze, so as long as water is moving, even if it is just dripping, it cannot freeze. Another way to keep your pipes from freezing is to keep the heat on and at a set temperature day and night. Keeping pipes warm will prevent them from freezing. If you cannot heat certain areas of your home where there are vulnerable pipes, you can add extra insulation or heating tape to pipes. There are different kinds of pipe insulation so go check at your local hardware store to find what will work best for you. You should also keep cabinet doors under sinks open to allow the warm air to get in around the pipes.