Frozen pipes are more likely to burst during the winter because the pressure frozen water puts on pipes when it expands. Unfortunately for homeowners, frozen pipes can cause significant structural damage if they burst.
How to combat burst and leaking frozen pipes
If you think frozen pipes on your property have burst, there are several steps you should take:
- Shut off the water in your house.
- Once the water is shut off, turn your faucets on. This should vent most of the excess water trapped in the frozen pipes and decrease the pressure on the pipes.
- Call a plumber. Nobody will be able to handle a burst pipe better than someone who specializes in fixing them.
- Locate the leaking or burst pipe. If the pipe is in the wall, this should be reasonably easy. If you’ve been experiencing irregular or no water pressure from a faucet, the damaged frozen pipes are probably connected to that faucet.
- Be aware that flooding may occur if the frozen pipes are located in the floor. Take precautions and place valuables or furniture that can be damaged by water above floor-level. If the frozen pipes are located in the wall, avoid using electrical outlets situated on that wall and unplug devices currently connected to that wall.
- If you know where the damaged frozen pipes are located and can get to them quickly, try to repair them using a garden hose and clamps. Find a garden hose large enough to wrap around the pipe(s). Cut a section of the hose around 10 inches longer than the leak or hole in the pipe. Place the hose around the damaged section of the pipe and use clamps to tighten it.
Note: this is a temporary repair method. It will only stop the material surrounding the pipe from being damaged. However, you should still have a certified plumber replace or repair the pipe.
- Finally, record the damage and call your insurer if you think you may need to file a claim.
What to expect from a leaking or burst pipe
At this point, you may be wondering what to expect from burst frozen pipes on your property. The damage a leaking or burst pipe causes mostly depends on where the pipe is located:
- If frozen pipes are located in the wall, insulation will probably be saturated. As a result, untreated pipe leaks in walls often lead to mold. Electricity may also short-circuit, increasing the risk of a fire due to sparks. If the leak is big enough, the wall may buckle or sag due to decreased stability.
- If frozen pipes are located in the floor, flooding will probably occur. Depending on the floor material, structural damage will also take place. Wood may start to rot or become moldy, while linoleum or tile floors may crack and also develop mold.
If you’re worried about frozen pipes on your property, Bieg Plumbing can help. Bieg Plumbing has been providing clients with cutting-edge plumbing services for more than 60 years. To learn more, fill out Bieg’s contact form. We look forward to speaking with you.