Frozen Pipes

As the weather transitions from Fall to Winter, the weather temperature experiences a significant dropoff. This drop in temperature can create a variety of plumbing problems, one being frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are one of the most common seasonal plumbing issues and can be costly to fix. When water is flowing in a home’s pipes, it is susceptible to freezing on a chilly winter day. Freezing pipes can affect your water pressure and cause damage to your pipes. The longer you leave frozen pipes, the worse they can get.

How dangerous are frozen pipes?

Frozen pipes can be dangerous, especially if they are left alone throughout the winter season. Some of the effects that frozen pipes can have on your pipes include:
  • Low water pressure
    • Low water pressure is the most evident danger of a frozen pipe. Frozen pipes can limit the production of running water, taking its toll on many day-to-day activities. Washing your hands or dishes will become difficult with this lowering of water pressure.
  • Pipes could potentially burst
    • Another common problem with freezing pipes is their potential to burst in colder climates. If the water in your pipes freezes, then more pressure is added onto the pipes. This pressure can cause a pipe blockage resulting in a bursting pipe. Fixing burst pipes is both costly and time-consuming, some dealing with frozen pipes before they get worse is crucial.

How do I know if my pipes are frozen?

To determine if your pipes are frozen, there are a few indicators that you can follow:
  • Temperature drop
    • The first step in determining if you have frozen pipes is by observing the weather. While this is a simple step, it is the very first indicator of frozen pipes. If it is a snowy winter day, then your pipes are simply more likely to freeze. If the temperature drops below 0*C then you should attempt to protect your pipes from freezing. 
  • Frosted pipes
    • If your pipes can be viewed, then you should examine if your pipes are frosted at all. If you notice that your pipes have frost on them or have formed icicles on themselves, then you are likely to have a frozen pipe.
  • Slow running water
    • If your water is struggling to run, this is another indicator of a frozen pipe. If you turn on a faucet and the water pressure is low, then you are likely to have a frozen pipe.
  • Foul-odour coming from pipes
    • If your pipes begin to smell strange, then you may have a frozen pipe. If there is frozen water in your pipe, the odour cannot escape the pipes, resulting in a foul-odour.

How can I prevent a pipe from freezing?

There are a couple of methods that you can use to prevent a pipe from freezing. These include:
  • Keeping your heat on
    • Having constant flowing heat throughout your property is an efficient way of stopping your pipes from freezing. By turning on your heater, it can limit frost from getting to and freezing your pipes. The heat can keep your pipes warm and prevent them from freezing.
  • Allow the faucet to drip
    • If you fear that your pipes may freeze, you can open up your faucet slightly to encourage water flow. By allowing your faucet to drip, it can lower the water pressure within your pipes. This lower pressure can limit pipe blockage and allow your water to flow at a constant rate. 
  • Keep all of your in-home doors open
    • Sometimes your pipes can be secretly located in cabinets. By opening your interior doors, you can counter lowering temperatures as heat will be able to circulate freely throughout your home.  
  • Seal up cracks and holes
    • Any holes in walls or floors that need sealing in your home should be resolved whenever you can do so. You can fill these holes by using insulation products such as spray foam and other wall-sealing products. When sealing these gaps, you should attempt to fill in both sides of the hole to allow it to be thoroughly secured. By doing so, you can stop cold air from flowing into your home and lowering the likelihood of frozen pipes.
  • Apply Heating Tape
    • By applying heating tape to your pipes, it can keep them warm. Heating tape is particularly useful for areas of a pipe that have a higher risk of freezing, as the tape can limit frost from developing on the pipes. There are two types of heating tape: one turns on if an area is cold and the other must be manually turned on. Depending on what you believe suits your pipes, you should purchase it accordingly. You should also pay close attention to the product instructions attentively, to avoid any potential dangers or issues.
  • Add more insulation to your pipes:
    • By adding extra insulation to your pipes, your pipes will be less susceptible to freezing. You can use foam rubber or fibreglass sleeves to assist in the defrosting of your pipes. These can be added to whenever your pipe resides.
By following these steps, you can prevent your pipes from freezing.

How can I thaw frozen pipes?

If you already have frozen pipes, you can attempt to thaw them by following these steps:

  • Shut off the “Main” water valve and open a faucet to let the defrosted water to flow through.
  • Keep the pipes warm by applying warm towels to cold areas of the pipes, or use heating tape to assist in defrosting your pipes.
  • Avoid using any electricity or open flame-based methods to warm up your pipes. If you do so, you could cause harmful effects for those in your house, as well as your piping.

If you are unsure of any of these steps, you should contact a plumbing professional to defrost your pipes as soon as possible. By contacting our team at Plumber Toronto Pro, we can prevent or repair your frozen pipes. Regardless of the severity of the frozen pipe or the time of day, Plumber Toronto Pro provides the best frozen pipe service in the entire GTA.

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