Water is vital to life and susceptible to freezing and thawing as the seasons change. This happens naturally outdoors; however, water freezing in your home’s pipes can lead to lots of problems: water loss, flooding, property damage, rot, mold and the need for costly home improvement projects. Unfortunately, water damage from pipes that freeze and burst is one of the most frequent claims that homeowners make on their insurance policies.
Hazards of Frozen Pipes
While pipes that freeze and burst are a worst-case scenario, even frozen pipes that don’t burst can be a problem. They are weakened and compromised and could cause problems later in the year. As winter gives way to spring, this is the perfect time to inspect for signs that your pipes have frozen at some point during the long winter.
Frozen pipes that don’t burst still have compromised integrity; they are more prone to leaking, and if they freeze again next winter, they will be more prone to bursting. Burst water pipes can lead to a flooded home and/or basement. Flooding can compromise the integrity of the home and lead to drywall damage, wood rot, foundation cracking and hazardous mold and mildew.
Be Proactive This Spring
In addition to making sure your home’s roof and siding are in good shape, take the time this spring to inspect its pipes for signs of freeze damage. Some of the signs include bowing and bulging at any point in the pipe, especially at joints or seams. While some signs of frozen pipes will be visually obvious, others will be more subtle and harder to detect.
One way to check for freeze damage is by running your exterior faucets; turn on the faucet quickly and immediately place your fingers over the opening; if you are able to halt the water flow with just this action, this is a sign that your pipes may have been frozen and compromised.
Any signs of a frozen pipe should be addressed as soon as possible. In most cases, replacing the damaged length of pipe and/or joint will restore integrity to your plumbing. An experienced plumber can identify and address frozen pipe issues for you.
How to Spot a Damaged Pipe
Your Main Water Shut-Off Valve
This is also a good time to remind your spouse and older children where the water main valve is for your home. In the event a pipe bursts or leaks at any time of year, shutting off the water flow as soon as possible can help save you thousands of dollars in water damage to your home.
The main water valve should be inspected and tested regularly, especially in older homes. Older gate-style valves can be prone to sticking, especially in colder conditions, so make sure yours is in working order by turning it at least twice per year. You might also consider having it replaced with a more modern, reliable ball-style valve when your home improvement budget allows.
If you suspect you might have frozen pipe damage, contact Mike Sikora’s Dayton Home Improvement for fast, friendly service.