Avoid Freezing Pipes this Winter 2009/10

When temperatures drop, exposed water pipes that run along exterior walls or crawl spaces in your Chicago home become vulnerable to freezing. Designed to carry water throughout the home, frozen water lines will bust open when water freezes and turns to ice that expands beyond what the pipe can hold. As ice melts - broken water pipes will flood homes and ruin drywall, furniture and belongings as well as trigger extensive mold growth. Mold causes allergic reactions, invasive disease, sinusitis and asthma in members of a mold invested home. It is very common for homes to have complete reconstruction following a burst pipe emergency because of mold growth.

The best way to avoid freezing and burst pipes is to weatherize exposed water lines before winter arrives. Plumber Chicago IL offers the following tips on how to avoid frozen pipes in low temperatures:

-Disconnect garden hoses and other outdoor water connections. Close water supply by shutting indoor valves, and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets.

-Insulate exposed water pipes against freezing with foam rubber sleeves, fiberglass or heat tape that functions as electrical heating blanket and wraps around pipe to keep line warm.

-Inspect your home for any cracks that can let in cold air where pipes are located. Seal leak sources especially in kitchens and bathrooms.

-When holidaying away from home keep thermostat set to at least 55 degrees to maintain a warm indoor environment and prevent freezing pipes. If you are planning to be away for a long time then drain and turn off your water supply completely.

Plumbers point to sudden drops in water pressure in winter as a good indication of freezing water lines. This warning sign may save you from expensive burst pipe emergencies provided you take immediate action to resolve the situation. Close water supply to the frozen pipe, or else turn off main shutoff valve to the home. Open taps to drain trapped water and steam. Applying direct heat on the frozen section may cause thermal expansion and split open pipe. Do not let the pipe become too hot to touch – follow Plumber Chicago IL tips on how to thaw safely freezing pipes:

1. Dip several rags in hot water and wrap around the frozen section of the pipe. When rags cool down, replace them with new, hot ones.
2. Wrap heat tape around pipe.
3. Use a hair dryer and thaw from faucet towards frozen section. This way melted water can escape out easily while water pressure will force out trapped ice.
4. Place a space heater next to the frozen pipe.