Preventing Frozen Pipes and Winter Plumbing Problems

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As frigid temperatures approach in Virginia Beach, now is a good time to think about your plumbing pipes. While the average low temperature in January is 33 degrees F., we have plenty of days and nights that are cold enough to make your Virginia Beach plumbing pipes freeze. A recent study at the University of Illinois shows that non-insulted pipes can freeze at 20 degrees or below in an attic, depending on the type of pipe material used. Taking a few precautions now will prevent you from having burst pipes later.

Insulation

Check your pipes for insulation. If they are inside the home and protected from the cold, they probably won’t freeze unless your home goes without power for several hours. Check on pipes that are outside and aren’t covered. Pay special attention to areas inside where cold air filters through from outside the home, including places where cable and wiring is fed through a hole in the side of the structure. Seal holes and cracks that allow cold air to enter.

With mild temperatures inVirginia Beach, plumbing pipes used in residential and commercial buildings are not always designed for cold weather. Consider replacing your exposed plumbing pipes with pre-insulated pipes.

Power Outages

If the power goes out and stays out during the occasional snow or ice storm, the lack of heat in your home allows the pipes to get colder faster. In a prolonged power outage, they could freeze. Consider automatic generator installation. It not only guarantees working electricity in the home during a power outage, but connecting your heating system to it prevents frozen pipes as well.

If temperatures are expected to drop below 20 degrees, consider turning your water faucets on a slow drip, which relieves pipe pressure should the water begin to freeze and expand. This can prevent pipes from freezing or from bursting if the water inside them does freeze and expand as it turns to ice.

Broken pipes don’t leak until after the ice has started to melt as the temperature around them warms up. If you suspect that your pipes may have frozen, check for dripping water, especially at pipe seams, drain fittings and connectors. A water leak can become a serious problem and create a mess.

If your pipes have frozen and ruptured, call a professional for plumbing repairs or replacement. American Mechanical has master plumbers on staff and serves all of Hampton Roads.