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Bath Fitter’s Guide to Frozen Water Pipes

Posted by on January 24, 2013 2:15 PM

Here’s one scenario you never want to experience. Walk into your bathroom in the morning in the winter, turn the faucet on in your sink or shower, and little or no water is coming out…

One potential headache that every house faces during cold spells is frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can plague any room, and can make your bathroom experience especially problematic, considering how reliant your toilet, tub, and sink are on the simple function of water flow. There are a few basic measures that you can take to ensure that this never happens when the temperature drops, which we’ve provided for you. And should you ever find yourself with a frozen pipe situation, all is not lost.


How It Happens: Water freezes if the pipes are left too exposed to the elements, whether they are outside, in a basement or not properly insulated.

Result: No flow of water in or out if the frozen pipe is involved. Potential cracked pipe as water expands.

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes:
 The best things for you to do are monitor and assess your pipes’ exposure to the cold. A few things to consider:

-Heat – Are your pipes in a heated area or in an area that’s subject to the outside temperature? One way to figure this out is if they are in a room that is a “heating zone”. If they’re not in such a zone, leave the doors open so that heat can filter in from other rooms.
-Temperature- Is the heat always on in your house, or do you turn it off for long stretches when no one is home? If it’s consistently low for hours at a time, this increases the risk that pipes will freeze.
-Insulation- Are the pipes themselves protected by some sort of outer covering or layer, or are they exposed?

If your pipes do not have insulation, consider getting them insulated to ensure you never experience frozen pipes first-hand. You can buy the material at a home improvement store, or talk to a general contractor about having them installed for you.  Another measure that you can take is to keep your water at a drip if you are going away for days at a time. As little as a drip can keep the water flow at a point where it will stave off freezing pipes.

How to Address Frozen Pipes:
Should you find yourself with frozen water pipes, you can apply heat to the pipes using a hair dryer or a space heater. Keep the water on so that you will know when your efforts are working.
If you cannot pinpoint where the problem is and your efforts are proving fruitless, it may be time call a general contractor to bring in industrial heaters in order to thaw out your pipes.

Some information courtesy of The Red Cross

Photo Credit: Preventing frozen pipes – running water, Flickr, @State Farm
Photo Credit: Plumb Crazy, Flickr, @Elsie esq

Posted Under: Bathroom Tips



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