Do You Have Frozen Pipes?
Just like you put on warm coats and scarves to protect yourself from the cold temperatures during winter, it is important that you shield your pipes from the cold. Your pipes carry water, which expands when it freezes. This can cause serious problems for even the toughest commercial plumbing system. If your pipes are not properly insulated and covered, the frozen water can create major pressure and ultimately lead to cracks, leaks, or bursts.
Are My Building’s Pipes in Danger?
In general, the pipes that are directly exposed to extreme cold weather are more susceptible to freezing and causing damage. It is important that you protect your pipes early on, ideally before the winter weather begins to bring the temperature down.
Most pipes that are vulnerable to freezing:
. Water sprinkler lines
. Outdoor hoses
. Plumbing in unheated interiors, such as in the basement, garage, etc.
. Outdoor pipes with no insulation
If left unnoticed, frozen water pipes can cause major leaks and catastrophes. Just one pipe burst can cause a building to lose 4-8 gallons of water a minute and cost thousands of dollars to repair. To prevent such damage, it is crucial that you take the proper preventative steps to preserve your pipes.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes?
. Insulate your exterior pipes, which will keep the cold from solidifying the water
. Allow small amounts of water to run through your faucets constantly, to keep the water moving
. Open the cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to heat your pipes
. Seal the openings of doors to the attic, basement, etc.
. Insulate water storage units in / out your home, susceptible to the cold
. Remove and store away your outdoor hoses to preserve their efficiency
How to Know if Your Pipes Are Frozen?
Often, business owners may distracted with the surge in customers and sales that winter brings. Focused on surviving the holidays, you may forget to monitor the health of your plumbing system and pipes. However, it is important that you know how to identify frozen pipes should they occur so that you can help prevent a burst or other damage.
Signs of frozen pipes include:
. Persistent plumbing issues
. Pipes covered in ice
. Low water pressure
. Damp drywall
. Unusual sounds and odors from your pipes
Tips on Thawing Your Pipes
While you may experience a variety of issues caused by frozen pipes, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where the freeze is. Most pipes behind building walls are hard to access. However, exterior pipelines may be easier to diagnose and treat. If you do find a frozen pipe, here are some ways to get water flowing again.
. Apply heat to the frozen pipe. This can be done using a hair dryer, a space heater, or applying warm, towels, or a heating pad.
. Keep the faucet on while you warm the pipes. This will allow the ice to thaw and trickle out.
Continue to apply heat to the pipes until your water pressure is restored.