Fall Plumbing: How to Prepare for Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are probably the last thing on your mind when it’s still warm outside. The best time to take precautions against the cold winter’s effects on your plumbing is in the fall when it’s just beginning to cool down. While frozen pipes aren’t as big of a concern in Las Vegas as they are in colder climates, they are still an issue to be aware of. Left unprotected, frozen pipes can crack, leading to expensive repairs. Even if you don’t have long periods of cold temperatures, you should be prepared. In the fall, plumbing preparation is easiest due to the comfortable outdoor temperatures and moderate use.

 

What happens to make pipes burst when they freeze?

To understand why it’s so important to prepare for frozen pipes, you must know what makes them so destructive. Your plumbing system is built to handle a specific amount of pressure. The standard flow of water keeps pressure from building in the pipes. At most times, your pipes will have about 40 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). When water freezes inside your pipes the flow is disrupted, and pressure jumps into the thousands. Water also expands when it freezes. This combination of stretching through expansion and added pressure leaves any weaknesses in your plumbing exposed. The slightest crack or bend in a pipe will burst when confronted with ice. While this may seem unfortunate on its own, remember the water will melt eventually. When it does, the area around the broken pipe will flood and cause even more damage to the home.

 

Steps you should take to prevent frozen pipes

Taking precautions when the weather is still warm outside can help save you money in the long run. Identify any areas in the home where there is unheated plumbing, such as underneath your kitchen sink. If the heat doesn’t naturally reach the pipes, take the time now to insulate them. This will help them retain heat and avoid freezing in the winter. Landscape maintenance to your plumbing in the fall is traditionally a lot simpler than in the summer. This means it’s a great time to pack up any outside hoses, drain the pool, and put insulated covers on any exposed plumbing. As the season winds down and it begins getting chilly outside, make sure to keep your heat on a regular temperature during both day and night. This will prevent temperature swings in your plumbing system and help keep water flowing.

 

Low water pressure in your home? Your pipes may have frozen.

If it’s the dead of winter and you notice you suddenly have next to no water pressure in the home, your pipes may have frozen. Don’t panic! Even if your pipes do freeze, you can still mitigate the damages. Don’t put off calling a trusted emergency plumber who specializes in frozen pipes. While waiting for them to get there, keep the faucet open. Try to locate where in the pipes the water has frozen and use a hairdryer to gently heat the area back up. As it heats, water will begin flowing back out (which is why it’s important to leave the faucet open!). When your plumber arrives, they’ll be able to assess the situation and check for any damage or potential problem areas. For any of your plumbing needs contact Sin City Plumbing at (702) 431-6502.

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