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If Your Pipes Freeze, Will They Burst?

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As a homeowner, you may have heard about the dangers of frozen pipes--that they will burst and cause expensive water damage. Knowing the truth about frozen pipes and how to avoid this problem can help you take care of your property during the cold winter weather.

If your pipes freeze, will they burst?

Frozen pipes can burst, but many of them do not. Unfortunately, because of this uncertainty, the thawing process should be carefully monitored so that if the water gushes from the pipe, the problem can be caught early.

What can you do to thaw a frozen pipe?

There are several ways to thaw a frozen pipe. Try draping the pipe in a towel dipped in water heated on the stove. To do this, you may have to buy water from the grocery store, because a frozen pipe can cut off the water supply to your house.

You can also put a space heater near the pipe, as long the space heater can be kept away from any dripping water. Don't leave the space heater unattended, if this is what you choose to do.

How will you know if the pipe has burst?

This will become obvious when the pipe begins to thaw. You'll see dripping water coming out of the pipe in addition to the melting frost rolling off of the pipe's exterior. If this happens, turn off the water to the house and call a plumber immediately.

How can you stop your pipes from freezing this winter?

There are several ways that you can protect your plumbing from cold weather this winter. When temperatures drop down to freezing levels, turn on the hot water in each sink faucet and let it trickle. This is especially important for sinks located along the exterior walls of your home, because pipes that run along outer walls of houses will be in particular danger of freezing.

The best way to protect your plumbing this winter is to insulate your pipes. Self-adhesive pipe insulation is available for sale in home improvement centers and hardware stores, and can be installed by a DIYer. Simply buy the size of insulation that fits around your particular pipes, then use a utility knife to cut down the pieces to fit each pipe. If you don't want to spend the money on pipe insulation, you can wrap your pipes with newspaper. This isn't as effective as insulation, but it does help.

For more information about how you can protect your home's plumbing, contact a reputable plumber in your area.