As you probably remember from 3rd grade science, water freezes into ice. When that process happens, the water molecules expand so the ice takes up more space than the water did.
Take that concept and apply it to the plumbing pipes in your home. When the outside temperatures drop, that water can freeze and expand. (Think about when you seem to expand from the day before Thanksgiving to the day after….)
Pipes located on outside walls of the home, or in areas that don’t receive a lot of warm air circulation (inside kitchen cabinets), are the ones that are most susceptible to freezing.
First and foremost, frozen pipes are problem because if there is a big block of frozen water in your pipes, you will not have running water coming from that pipe.
The second problem, which is the one most of us worry about, is the potential for the pipe to burst. This happens when the expanding ice creates pressure on the closed faucet. Eventually, there is just too much pressure for the pipe to handle and it bursts.
The best offense is a good defense, right? So, the best way to handle frozen pipes is by not letting them freeze in the first place. You can do this by:
Pipes can still freeze even in the most prepared of homes. When that happens, what you want to do is prevent them from bursting. Therefore, as soon as you notice that a pipe in your home is frozen, it is important to begin the thawing process before too much pressure builds up.
If you have any more questions about keeping your plumbing in good working order, contact us at Flame Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical!