Why Do Pipes Break in Freezing Temperatures?
When water in the pipes start to freeze it expands, and ice crystals can form inside causing water blockage. This causes an increase in pressure inside the pipe. If the pressure is too high for the pipe to contain, it will rupture.
Plastic (PEX) pipes are more resistant to freezing than copper. Copper lines are typically ½ inch to ¾ inch in diameter, which makes it quicker to freeze. If you have a boiler system and it fails, you still run the risk of freezing boiler pipes whether they are cast iron or not.
When you turn on your main water supply, the whole system is pressurized. If you turn on your outside faucet and you discover very low pressure or find water leaking into your home, turn off the faucet immediately. You may have a frost-free faucet that has ruptured. Turning off the faucet will stop the flow of water through the rupture point. Have a plumber inspect your faucet in this situation, to determine if your faucet requires replacement.
If you encounter a frozen pipe (that has not broken) in your home, take the following measures to safely thaw it:
- Turn off your water supply to the frozen pipe off. The pipe could still burst.
- Make sure your thermostat is up to 75 degrees.
- Open the faucet.
- Circulate warm air throughout the house. Use fans to move warm air to cold areas.
- Place a heater near the frozen area.
Make sure you check on it regularly not only to ensure the pipe is not broken, but to keep an eye on the space heater.
If you run into frozen pipes, or water damage from frozen pipes, Call SERVPRO of Casper at 307-235-6558. We can assess the water damage in your home, and develop a plan to dry your property quickly.