Even in Las Vegas, pipes can freeze. Frozen pipes are a familiar terror to our East Coast brethren, but a relatively rare occurrence in warmer regions. Temperatures are becoming increasingly unpredictable even in warmer climates, and there has been an increase in recent years of frozen pipes throughout the Las Vegas Valley. Water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, which means if it’s particularly chilly overnight, you may wake up to an unfortunate (and cold) surprise in your pipes. Fortunately, you have the power to prevent this. Simple tweaks to your pipes make big differences down the line. This fall, take the time to properly prepare your pipes for freezing temperatures.
Traditional Prevention Methods for Freezing Pipes
Frozen pipes have been a homeowner’s nightmare since indoor plumbing became commonplace. Temperatures outside plummet and any pipes on the exterior of the home quickly follow suit. When water freezes, it expands. This expanding ice formation will break your pipes within hours. As the water then thaws (or more water is pushed through), it leaks into your home. Water leaks cause thousands of damage – not to mention the repair now needed to the pipe itself! Avoid this by following the traditional prevention method for freezing pipes: running a small trickle of water through. The movement inside the pipe will prevent freezing. You can also keep the heat up in the home. Warmer temperatures inside will work to combat the cooler ones outside.
Insulating Your Pipes to Prevent Freezing
Another method of frozen pipe prevention is insulation. Insulating pipes is relatively affordable but must be done correctly to be effective. A few different methods exist, the most effective of which is actual insulation. You can purchase pipe insulation wraps at any home improvement store. They’re easily wrapped around pipes and secured using heat-proof tape. The trick is avoiding any gaps in the insulation; with so many twists and turns in-home pipes, freezing has lots of crevices to put its foothold in. A professional plumber will easily handle this for you, but if you want to DIY it you may want to use layers of heat tape around exposed areas.
What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze
If you neglected to take preventative measures and are stuck with a frozen pipe, don’t panic! If the pipe has already burst, call an emergency plumber immediately so they can mitigate the damage. If the pipe has not broken, you can thaw it out. Aim a hairdryer at the frozen spot to gently melt the ice. Alternatively, you can use a heating pad applied to the frozen spots to thaw out the frozen pipes. Make sure any electrical elements are kept well away from the melting ice; water can still cause an electric shock. Do not ever use an open flame (lighter, blowtorch, or otherwise) on a pipe. You can easily damage the pipe or even start a fire.
For more plumbing-related tips, please contact Sin City Plumbing