What causes pipes to freeze

What Causes Pipes to Freeze?

“What causes your pipes to freeze?” is one of the most common questions a plumber is asked. During winter, when the temperature dips below freezing and stays there for an extended time, standing water in pipes can freeze. Once it freezes enough, it can restrict the flow of water causing slow-moving water to begin to freeze, too.

If enough water freezes in a section of pipe, it can cause the pipe to burst, causing water and ice to pour out. Depending on where the pipe bursts, this can be disastrous for a homeowner. Let’s look at what you can do to prevent pipes from freezing, even in the dead of winter.

What Causes Pipes to Freeze and Can You Prevent It?

We’ve talked about what causes pipes to freeze. This is something every homeowner should be aware of during winter. Signs of freezing pipes in a home or building include:

  • Slow flowing water from faucets or when running appliances
  • No water from faucets, tapes, or when running appliances
  • Spurts of water from faucets when turning them on
  • Lukewarm or cold water despite temperature set on water heater

Can You Prevent Freezing Pipes?

In most cases, you can prevent freezing pipes in your home or building by taking preventative measures before the cold sets in. Consider the following when trying to prevent freezing pipes:

  • Open cabinet doors wherever pipes are visible in your home
  • Trickle warm water from each faucet when the temperature dips below 30 degrees
  • Open all the heating vents in your home when running the furnace
  • Keep the temperature about 65 degrees in all areas of your home
  • Use faucet jackets on outdoor faucets to help prevent condensation

If you suspect your pipes are frozen or they have burst, call a plumber immediately. The longer you wait to deal with the issue, the more damage may occur if the pipe does in fact burst. If a pipe does burst, turn off the water in your home or building via the main shut-off valve and turn on all faucets to help relieve the pressure behind the ice in your pipes.

Be on the lookout for the signs of freezing pipes and follow the above tips to help prevent them from freezing completely.