It’s important that you know how to tell if your water pipes are beginning to freeze. Frozen pipes can cause severe damage to your home and cost hundreds of dollars in repairs. A pipe that freezes once may be more prone to freezing again, so prepare for the worst while hoping for the best!
You have a “running” faucet on an outside hose bibb. If the tap continues running without any change in pressure, this could mean water is flowing through undamaged underground pipes under extreme pressure. This means there is no risk of frozen inside lines, but you will need to get the water shut off as soon as possible.
The tap may be running and you see no sign of a break in the line, but there is little water flow. This could mean that there has been a break in the line and your house is now without water. Make sure to turn off any outside taps so water does not continue to flow through to the broken pipe. If you do have an emergency inside your homes, such as no running toilets or shut-off valves, try turning off all indoor taps to ensure that they don’t start spraying water everywhere when only one side of the system is pressurized!
You’re seeing signs of freezing at fixtures – like faucets and showerheads – which are used regularly and left uncovered (like an outdoor shower). If you know that your pipes freeze in the winter, watch these fixtures closely. Make sure they are well insulated and that you cover them if possible. If one of these fixtures freezes, shut off its water supply so it does not burst while still frozen and cause even more damage.
You notice a cold draft coming from an exterior wall on the lower floor or see moisture on basement walls or floors. You can use a hairdryer to check for drafts on exterior walls. Turn the hairdryer onto hot and hold it close to any air leaks you suspect around windows and doors and baseboards, etc. If there is a draft, the hairdryer will feel cool against your skin rather than hot once held against a crack or hole.
An exterior water spigot is unlabeled or it has a lock on the tap itself. This means that the outdoor line is likely not pressurized, since tap locks are used to indicate non-pressurized lines. If you notice your tap is labeled with a lock, turn it off immediately and call a plumber before any further damage occurs.
If any of these signs sound familiar, then there’s a good chance that one or more of your water pipes have frozen! It would be best to call us here at Elk Grove Village Sewer & Plumbing in order to get your home back up and running as soon as possible.
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