In Chicago, frozen pipes bursting overnight due to the subzero temperatures is not uncommon. The subsequent flooding is also a major cold-related problem that disturbs the city’s traffic and creates challenges for firefighters. In case there is a fire, the frozen fire hydrants make it difficult for firefighters to respond to the emergency effectively. Not just the roads, the flooding due to bursting or thawing of frozen water pipes in winter creates a mess in homes as well. During winters, water in fully filled pipes freezes, exerting pressure of over 2,000 pounds per square inch on the pipe walls, causing it to rupture. In homes, most pipes are located in the floors, walls and roof spaces and can easily expand on freezing, in the absence of the right heat temperatures. The result is that you not only have to bear the repair costs but also the cost of fixing the structural integrity of the home, which could be much higher in future.
If you have experiencing similar problems in your house, it is advisable to call a professional emergency plumbing service, such as the Mikesplumbingchicago.com, a Niles-based plumber service that offers 24 hour emergency plumbing services in Chicago and its neighboring areas.
Tips to Prevent Pipes from Freezing in Homes
When extreme cold weather is forecasted, it is advisable to follow these steps to prevent water pipes from freezing:
- Keep checking all faucets on a daily basis to ensure that they are all working properly. If any pipe appears frozen, immediately shut off the main water line into your home and heat the pipe to prevent it from breaking.
- In cold regions, all houses are well equipped with an efficient heating system. On extremely cold days, turn the heat to 70°F or at least 68°F, even if the house is left vacant.
- There are a lot of pipes located on the outside walls, underneath the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Keep the cabinets open for warm air to circulate through these areas and provide warmth to the pipes hidden under the structures. You can insulate pipes with foam insulation wrap or wrap an electrical heat tape on pipes located on outside walls.
- 24 hour plumbers in Chicago suggest allowing the faucets of pipes that are susceptible to freezing to drip. The theory behind this is that moving water generally will not freeze.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
Exposed Frozen Pipe: These pipes are a little easier to combat than hidden ones. You can use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape or a small portable heater for thawing. Before thawing the pipe, remember to keep the main water valve near the water meter open. When thawing, work backwards from the faucet towards the frozen area in the pipe. This allows the melted ice to flow away, forced by the water pressure in the pipe.
Hidden Frozen Pipe: As mentioned above, most pipes are hidden behind the wall and other surfaces, where finding the frozen location is a task in itself. Once the location is discovered, you can use an infrared lamp, which directs more energy to heating without heating the air around the area. This way you can direct heat to a specific wall section or frozen pipe segment.
If all the above suggestions fail, make sure you have the number for an emergency plumbing service handy.