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Beware of Frozen Pipes in Your Plumbing

Winters are cold in our neck of the woods, and that can spell all kinds of problems for your home. Among the most prominent is frozen pipes, when the water in your plumbing freezes solid. Ice expands when it freezes, putting huge amounts of pressure on the sides of the pipe. If you’re not careful, they could burst, turning a relatively simple problem into a damaging and expensive repair job. We see a lot of calls to deal with frozen pipes and burst pipes, and we pride ourselves on fixing the issue quickly. But we’d much rather help you prevent the problem to begin with. That means checking for the signs of frozen pipes as well as enacting proper measures to keep the issue from ever occurring.

Prevention is Key

The steps to preventing frozen pipes are actually fair easy to enact.

  • Start with outside pipes. Turn off the water to sprinkler systems, pools, hot tubs, and similar outside piping, then turn on the faucets to empty out the water. This should be done every fall, before the weather gets too cold but after you have need of those systems.
  • Schedule an audit of your pipes by a trained plumber, who can identify potential trouble spots and recommend ways to counteract them. Among the most obvious is the addition of insulation for pipes in trouble areas, such as adjacent to an outside wall or in the basement. With the plumber’s recommendations in hand, you can then act on a viable course of action.
  • Run the water in a thin trickle out of any faucets that may be affected, especially if you’re going to be out of town for a while.
  • Set the thermostat to at least 55 degrees at all times, even if you’re not going to be home. It will help prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Add insulation to the home itself if you can. It will help keep the pipes warm, as well as providing considerable savings on your energy bill.
  • Seal any holes or openings surrounding a pipe, especially those in an outside wall.

What If They’re Already Frozen?

You can usually tell if your pipes are frozen simply because there’s no water coming out of the affected outlet. Once you’ve determined that, it’s usually a good idea to call a plumber immediately. He or she can thaw the pipes out safely without the danger of a burst. While you wait, you can conduct a few little steps to help.

  • Test other outlets in the home to see how extensive the freezing is.
  • Leave any affected outlets turned on. As the ice melts, the water flow will make the defrosting move more quickly and the plumber’s job easier.
  • Afterwards, talk to the plumber about ways to prevent such an occurrence in the future. If frozen pipes are a regular problem for that outlet, consider moving the pipes to a less vulnerable location or enacting any of the suggestions above.

Call Murphy Plumbing today to handle frozen pipes throughout the Haverford, PA area!

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