Don’t Take Any Chances with Frozen Water Lines This Winter

During our frigid WI winters, some of us may experience frozen water pipes inside or outside of our houses. When water reaches 32° or lower, water begins to expand.  If your faucets are in the closed position, the frozen water puts an increased amount of pressure on the pipes.  Whether your water pipes are PVC or copper, the increased pressure will split or tear the pipe.  Although the water is still frozen, it will not begin to leak until the temperatures rise and thaws back into a liquid.  When the water does begin to thaw, it will escape and begin its damage.

All a water line needs is a 1/8″ crack and you could lose as much as 250 gallons of water in one day.  Then, if it is an indoor water pipe, it will soak into the walls, insulation, ceilings, floors, carpeting, and on and on.  It is amazing how fast it travels.  This is when a quick response is needed.  The longer it sits and leaks, the more damage you will have and may need to claim on your Homeowners Insurance.  

Lesson being:  If you will be leaving your home for an extended period of time, even a day or two, there are a few things you can do to avoid this situation:

  • Set the heat at a minimum of 55° if you are away during the winter months.  
  • Keep garage doors closed always to protect plumbing lines running through this area from freezing temperatures.
  • Apply extra insulation around the water pipes and if necessary, wrap water pipes with heat tape.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep the main door to the room open.
  • As a hard freeze approaches, open both hot and cold faucets to a trickle to help prevent the water from freezing.
  • You can use an ordinary hair dryer to thaw pipes that are frozen.  NEVER use any kind of open flame.
  • For extended periods of time, drain the entire system.

If you come home and have major water damage, immediately turn off the water at the main water supply and dontact your plumber and your Insurance Company.

It is always a good idea to make arrangements with a friend or neighbor to check on your house while you are away.


Article written by Lisa Arthur Huben
Custom Kreations, Inc.