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What to Do About Frozen Pipes in DC

Frozen Pipes in DC

It is no secret that winter is officially here. With freezing temperatures and snowstorms predicted to hit the East Coast, it is time to prepare. Grab warm blankets from your closet, load up on hot tea, and prepare yourself for hibernation. However, all the preparation in the world won’t stop things from going wrong this winter season. Frozen pipes in DC are the most common and costliest accidents to affect homeowners. As the weather begins to freeze, stagnant water in your pipes can solidify and burst to cause damage in your home. In this article, we have provided steps to help prevent as well as alleviate frozen pipes. Also, we will provide useful information if you are already the victim of bursting pipes.

 Keep Your Pipes Flowing

To begin, the most common reason for frozen pipes is stagnant water. When the temperatures dip below freezing, turn on the sinks in your home. This will allow the water in your pipes to flow and make it much harder for them to freeze. A downside to this solution is the higher water bills that will come from the constantly flowing water.

 Use External Heating Sources

If you are afraid that your pipes are freezing, place an external heating source close to your pipes. For example, buying a space heater or heat lamp and putting it close to your pipes will help break apart the ice before it can form. A downside of this solution is the high electricity cost that may occur during the winter.

Keep Your Thermostat on Day and Night

To help thaw your frozen pipes, do not let your thermostat fall below 55 degrees. Keeping your home temperature warm and consistent is the best way to keep your pipes warm and water flowing.

What to Do If Your Pipes Burst

Unfortunately, no matter how much preparation you do, pipes can still burst. It is vital to act fast to avoid catastrophic property damage.

First, you need to shut off your main water supply to prevent more considerable flooding.

Second, call us at DC Water Restoration. With a response time of 30 to 60 minutes, we will assess the damage quickly. After we determine the damage, we will be able to provide any water cleanup that is required.

Third, contact your insurance company to open a claim. Burst pipes can cost thousands of dollars in damages. The sooner you open an insurance claim, the sooner you can receive financial compensation to begin needed repairs to your home.

Preparation is Key

Frozen pipes in DC should be taken seriously. You must have key elements in place before the winter season begins. Inspect your pipes to make sure there are no cracks or other defects. Have heating sources like heat lamps and space heaters ready to go at a moment’s notice. Also, have DC Water Restoration’s contact info in a safe place so you can contact us on short notice. Stay safe, stay smart, and stay dry.

How to Tell If Your Pipes Are at Risk of Freezing

Frozen pipes are a disaster wrapped in a catastrophe. They’re expensive and pose a high risk of extensive damage. Water damage can lead to secondary problems like mold, and can just plain ruin prized objects. Here are some warning signs that your pipe are at risk of freezing.

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Steps to Avoid Frozen Pipes

Check the thermostat

If it’s getting cold outside (or inside), check the thermostat to see what you’re dealing with. Unusual cold snaps can cause a lot of headaches for homeowners who just assumed their pipes were fine. If you live in a warmer climate where it seldom if ever freezes, you’re especially at risk when it does. Homes in your area are probably not built to keep pipes from freezing. The same way that few homes in Florida have snow roofs, few buildings will be built to protect interior and exterior pipes from the brute force of cold. If the thermostat is dipping into the mid to low thirties, you’re at risk of freezing pipes.

Check for interior cold spots

If you have exposed pipes inside your house you can check for freezing with a simple touch-test. Move you hands along the pipe and feel for a “cold block” inside the pipes. Ice will begin to form and stick in one spot on the pipes. That’s where the water would freeze. If you run your hands along the pipe and find this sudden cold pot (ice cold, you could say) you need to warm that pipe up pronto. Open the valve to let the water move through the pipe as this will also help prevent freezing. Then warm the pipe up with whatever you have short of an open flame. A space heater and a hairdryer are both excellent ways to quickly but gently warm up a freezing pipe.

Your heating system doesn’t warm the pipes

In areas where frozen pipes are as common as snowflakes, the houses and other buildings keep the interior pipes warm. The heating system will promote warm air flow in the basement and the attic to prevent pipes from freezing. When the temperature drops, look sharp for warning signs.  You risk frozen pipes.

Is the water through your pipes sluggish

Ice doesn’t go from free-flowing to a solid block in an instant. It starts out a sluggish slurry and slowly builds up along the walls of the pipe. If you turn on your tap and you only get a trickle, leave your line open. Flowing water is harder to freeze. Try to trace the pipe back through your building or out onto the property. You should try to melt the ice inside the pipe if you can find it. Even if you can’t, the flowing water will lessen (but not remove entirely) your risk of frozen pipes.

There are many warning signs that your pipes are freezing. Keep your eyes peeled for any of these signs this winter. If the temperature is getting colder, your pipes are at risk.

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