When temperatures dip below freezing here in Boulder, it’s not uncommon for residents to experience frozen pipes. Unfortunately, when water freezes in the pipes, it expands and can lead to leaks and failure. Don’t wait for pipes to fail after freezing; contact us first to repair your frozen pipe safely.
For stubborn clogs, contact us and ask about our drain cleaning service.
What Causes Pipes to Burst?
Most people think that pipe freezing is the leading cause of burst pipes, and while that’s true, pipes fail for a variety of reasons. Here are the four leading causes of burst pipes.
- Freezing: As mentioned, the number one cause of burst pipes is freezing. When the water freezes, it expands and puts pressure on the inside of the pipe. With nowhere to go, this pressure splits the pipe open.
- Movement: If the pipes aren’t secured, they can move inside the walls when water is turned on or off. If you’ve ever heard a clanging or banging sound when someone turns on the water, it’s because of movement, otherwise known as a water hammer. This movement weakens joints over time and eventually leads to pipe failure.
- Water Pressure: It’s essential to keep your water pressure at a stable and safe level. If the water pressure increases significantly, it can cause old, weak pipes to break.
- Corrosion: While most pipes are designed to provide decades of service, they all have an expiration date. Years of corrosion caused by pH imbalances or hard water take their toll on the plumbing system causing it to fail.
If you’ve had problems in the past with frozen pipes, or you have older plumbing, contact us for an inspection.
How to Prevent Pipe Freezing
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that saying rings true with your plumbing. The best way to fix a burst pipe is to prevent it from happening at all.
One way to prevent burst pipes is to turn on a slow, steady stream of water during freezing weather; this keeps water moving through the system and prevents it from freezing. You can also insulate exposed pipes with heat tape or foam sleeves. Lastly, keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to reach the pipes under your sinks. For expert winterization, contact Canyon Plumbing & Heating.
How to Prevent a Frozen Hose Bib
The hose bib is the outdoor spigot where you connect hoses and other outdoor equipment. As with pipes, you shouldn’t let the bib freeze with water in it during winter. If the bib does freeze, it can cause water damage in the form of burst pipes, and in many cases, the homeowner doesn’t know they have a problem until spring.
To prevent the bib from freezing, disconnect your garden hose and drain it before storing it away. Turn off the valve to the line that supplies water to the bib. Open the hose bib to drain out all of the water.
You can leave the bib faucet open during winter, so pressure doesn’t build up because of freezing water.
If the hose bib does freeze, open the spigot and use old towels or rags around the spigot's base. Slowly pour boiling water over the cloth until it’s saturated, and then add boiling water until water begins trickling out. Once you see water flowing, keep the bib open as you would with your indoor faucet.
If you’re sick of always running out of hot water, contact us and ask about our tankless water heater installation.
Outside Hose Bib Replacement
If you don’t winterize your hose bibs, you might get lucky and not experience any problems. However, chances are you’ll get cracks or leaks in your pipes if you leave the hose attached or don’t drain it before winter.
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to have flooding in their basements come springtime because they didn’t maintain their hose bibs properly during winter.
If your hose bib leaks now, contact us before winter sets in for replacement and winterization.