ST. LOUIS PLUMBERS – AVOIDING FROZEN PIPES DURING WINTER
Avoidance of frozen pipes should begin well before freezing conditions occur, and as your St. Louis Plumbers with the most expertise with many decades of combined experience, here are the ways to be ready before the freezing temperatures arrive.
At the first onset of cold weather, make sure that all garden hoses are removed from the outdoor spigots, the spigots and hoses drained and properly stored, and any outdoor water consuming devices made ready for the Winter. If you have an occasion to use a garden hose during the winter months, remember to disconnect the hose and drain the water from the hose and the spigot to avoid freezing damage.
Homeowners should do regular inspections on the inside and the outside of their home to make sure that any plumbing lines that might get exposed are properly and adequately protected from becoming frozen once the weather does turn cold. If you have water lines in a crawl space, get into the crawl space with the door closed and the lights off and see if you can see daylight coming into the space. If you do, locate those spots and make necessary corrections to avoid cold air getting in during freezing weather and causing frozen pipes and possible water damage.
If the light is coming through a ventilation opening, make mental note of the opening, and remember to close the opening when cold weather does come. Also, remember to remove the closure once warm weather returns. Proper ventilation of basements and crawl spaces is important. If the opening is supplying air needed for combustion to a heating appliance, you can have your heating and cooling professional install flexible duct work to convey this air directly to the appliance requiring combustion air, but it should never be completely blocked.
Inspect all the pipes inside your home to identify those that are located in exterior walls. If possible, insulate the areas such that the pipes are isolated toward the heat of the house, in other words, so that the insulation is placed between the cold side of the wall and the pipes you’re trying to keep from freezing.
If insulation is not practical, consider installing small air vents in the wall so that the pipes will receive some heat from inside the home during freezing conditions. If none of the above is practical, and the pipes are located in a cabinet underneath a sink, keep the cabinet doors open when it gets extremely cold outside so that the area below the cabinets stays warm.
As a last resort, during extremely cold weather, you can allow a small trickle of hot and cold water to flow through the water lines in order to keep them from freezing. Make certain that the plumbing drains serving this fixture are in good working order so that you don’t cause water damage from the drain backing up.
If you will be away from home for an extended length of time during cold weather, turn the main domestic water supply off where it enters the home, turn the thermostats down to not less than 55 degrees F and open all cabinet doors where there is plumbing located inside. Have a friend or relative come by daily during extremely cold weather to make sure that everything is okay. Leave the name of your plumbing contractor with the temporary caretakers in case an emergency arises while you are away. If you have a fire protection line, make certain it is not affected by turning off the domestic water supply line. Also, be sure that you don’t have a hydronic heating system that requires a constant supply of water.
If you have an older home or live in a geographic area prone to extreme cold weather, you may want to consider contacting a licensed Plumbing Industry Council contractor for an inspection of your plumbing system and more information on ways to reduce your risk of frozen pipes.
St. Louis Plumber Tips: Actions to take if your water lines do freeze
Turn off the domestic water supply where it comes into the house. All responsible household members should be aware of where this emergency shut off valve is located prior to needing it to shut off the water. Know the difference between the domestic water supply and the fire protection supply. The fire protection supply should only be shut off if water is coming from a freeze break and there is no fire, or most licensed Plumbing Industry Council contractors can assist a homeowner with this.
- Turn up the heat. Raise the thermostat to 75 or 80 degrees. You need to drive heat into every nook and cranny of the home to avoid any damage occurring, and eliminate the chances of another water line becoming frozen.
- Open all faucets in the house. When water freezes, it expands by 1/5th its original volume. By relieving the expanding water, you may avoid doing additional pipe damage and needed repairs.
- Open all cabinet doors with plumbing below them. This is to allow the heated air to circulate around the pipes in an effort to thaw them out and keep them from freezing.
- Contact Cocos Plumbing to come assess your situation as soon as possible.
Try turning the water on for short periods to see if the frozen line has thawed. If it has, close all taps and listen to see if you can hear water running in inaccessible crawl spaces. If you do hear water running, turn off the water, open all faucets and wait for Cocos Plumbing to arrive!
We hope these simple tips help during the winter months.
Anywhere in the St. Louis area and eastern Illinois, Cocos Plumbing can handle any and all of your plumbing needs with the type of skill and professionalism you would expect from a fourth generation business like ours!
In Missouri call 314 631-2688, for those in the St. Louis Metro East Illinois dial 618 281-4949 for questions regarding your St. Louis area plumbing and to schedule a visit with one of our expert plumbers.