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Essential Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

Changing weather doesn’t just mean spending time with family around holiday meals. For homeowners, it also means the start of the season of frozen and burst pipes. Not every frozen pipe needs to turn into a burst pipe, however. By informing yourself of the early warning signs of frozen pipes, you’ll be able to take early decisive action to keep water flowing all winter long.

During below freezing temperatures, it’s a good idea to leave faucets dripping. The added expense of a dripping faucet is still significantly less than that of a burst pipe. A dripping pipe won’t prevent freezing, but it will provide a place for the increased pressure from a freezing pipe to escape.

What Does an Uneven Water Stream Mean?

uneven water streamIf you’re having faucet issues within your home, you may notice that the water stream is uneven. Besides the inconvenience to your morning shower, this is also a key sign that there’s ice blocking part of the pipe, causing the water to come out unevenly.

If you’re noticing uneven water flow, chances are a pipe is already frozen on the outside of your home. If this is the case, you must not let it go off like there is no problem at all. 

When you experience uneven water flow, there’s added inconvenience to your routine, as you must open outdoor faucets to relieve any built-up pressure within the pipes. Running water through the outside pipes will also help to melt any existing ice dams.

Preventing Frost on Pipes

Many signs of frozen pipes are easy to miss until it’s too late and a burst has already happened. A key sign that ice is building up inside pipes is frost forming on the outside of the pipe.

frost on pipe

This only happens if the inside temperature of the pipe is less than that on the outside of the pipe. If you notice frost building up on the outside of pipes, take a few steps immediately to prevent bursting.

  • Turn off the water: Use the main shut-off valve to turn off water to the house. It will stop the buildup of water behind the ice dam.
  • Open up any faucets: Pipes burst because of the increased pressure as ice builds up. By opening a faucet, you may prevent thousands of dollars in repairs.
  • Warm the pipe: Use a heating pad or hair dryer to warm the parts of the pipe you can see. Use a space heater to keep that portion of the house warm.

Cold Water When it Should be Hot

cold waterAnother sign that ice is building up in your pipes is that you’re experiencing unwanted cold water when it should be hot. This happens when flowing water encounters ice dams within the pipes and carries freezing water along with the hot water.

You may experience this sign of freezing pipes but can’t find the location in the house where frost is forming on the pipes. By calling in a plumber, they’ll assess the problem and diagnose the exact location of ice forming.

They’ll probably recommend…

Keeping the heat above 55 or 60, even when you’re not home. By keeping the temperature of the house well above freezing, water in pipes won’t freeze as easily. They may also suggest insulating pipes in the colder parts of the house. And finally, keeping faucets open to release any pressure from ice buildup.

Reliable and Trustworthy Plumbers

Jim Wagner Plumbing, Inc. uses flat rates to give for fast and reliable quotes. They are a third-generation company of licensed plumbers, serving the Chicagoland area 24 hours a day. Years of experience are behind the company motto of “Always Offer Great Service at a Fair Price.”