In the Highland Park, Illinois, area, it is not uncommon for frigid winter temperatures to cause pipes to freeze. Since frozen pipes can lead to serious damage, taking action right away is extremely important.
Identifying the Problem
Frozen pipes can cause minor cracks or affect a large area. In either case, repair can be expensive, especially if the affected pipe is located in a hard to access area. You might be immediately aware of a problem, but it can be a while after the winter thaw before you realize there is a problem — especially since pipes are not generally visible. Common problems are usually reflected in:
- Bulging pipes
- Frost on pipes
- Low or slow flow
- Toilets that won’t refill
- Damp or wet spots in walls or other areas of the home
When you turn on the faucet after a particularly cold night, only to find a trickle, it is likely that your pipes are frozen. Water expands when it freezes and can easily create a blockage. If the problem is located early, there is a good chance it can be addressed before it worsens and becomes an expensive repair job. Otherwise, the ice can continue to expand and cause the pipe to burst.
It is generally recommended that when freezing temperatures are expected, that you turn on faucets to a trickle. To prevent future problems with frozen pipes, take a few simple steps.
- Stop drafts: Use caulk or foam to create a better seal around drafty openings in your attic or basement.
- Seal windows: Use weatherstripping to prevent cold air from entering around windows and doorframes.
- Add insulation: Install extra insulation in your attic or other underinsulated areas in your home.
- Cover pipes: Add pipe sleeves or insulation to plumbing installed in underinsulated areas.
- Repipe outdated plumbing: Consider repiping older pipes to help your home weather through temperature fluctuations for years to come.
If there is no damage, your plumber will simply thaw the pipe so that water flows freely again. This will also provide an opportunity to thoroughly examine the pipes and make the necessary repairs.
Whether you’ve discovered damage or you want to prevent plumbing disasters, we can help. Call the plumbing experts at Carefree Comfort, Inc. for a consultation at 847-388-0115.
Image provided by Shutterstock