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ServiceMaster Grand Rapids Tips & News

Preventing Frozen Pipes

When a house's water pipes freeze, it can lead to disaster! A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

Burst water pipe

The three main causes of frozen pipes are:

  1. Quick drops in temperature,
  2. Poor insulation,
  3. And thermostats set too low.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hoses, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

What you can do now to prepare your pipes for winter:

  • Inspect all pipes in your basement, attic, or storage areas that might be near an open window or poorly insulated wall. Check if these pipes have cracked and/or are leaking.
  • Inspect the perimeter of your building. Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. If items like garden hoses are left attached in the cold, frozen water may back up into your home’s plumbing and crack your pipes.
  • Insulate your plumbing system. Wrap pipes at risk for freezing with heat tape. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and only use products approved by an independent testing facility. You can also use heat sleeves to help insulate your pipes during cold-weather months.

Always know where your plumbing shut-off valve is located, and make sure everybody in your family knows where it is as well. If your pipes burst or if the temperature is dropping quickly, make sure you can quickly shut the valve off.

What to do if your pipes freeze

If you suspect that a pipe is frozen but hasn’t cracked yet, you may be able to thaw it out before extensive water damage from busted pipes occurs. Try using a hair dryer to thaw out the pipe. Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire...

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house, leave the water faucets turned on, and call the professionals right away to fix the pipe.

If there is any water damage, our water damage restoration services can work fast to mitigate additional damage. With the proper knowledge, expertise and tools, our team at ServiceMaster Grand Rapids will extract, dry, and complete the clean-up, helping you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.

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