It’s almost time to break out the winter jackets and boots. Before we know it, the snow will start falling and the temperatures will drop well below freezing. One of the biggest concerns facing homeowners during cold weather is the possibility of pipes bursting when water freezes and expands inside the pipes. The price of damage caused by a burst pipe can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands. While Medford Wellington Service offers 24-hour plumbing and HVAC repair for emergencies, our main goal is to prevent plumbing and HVAC blowouts from happening in the first place. Today, we’d like to offer some helpful information on preventing pipes from bursting, and what to do if it happens.
PREVENTING BURST PIPES
- Keep the heat on: While most of us keep our furnaces on during the winter anyway, be sure it is set to at least 55-degrees, even while you are not home. This isn’t a fool-proof method, as some pipes are out of the range of heat, but this is the most important preventative action.
- Fix any leaks: While wrapping a pipe in duct-tape might have been a sufficient fix for that tiny apartment you rented in college, if you own a home, it’s time to start fixing pipes the right way. Leaky pipes create weak points in the system, making it more likely for a burst to occur.
- Have your furnace serviced regularly: Even though we’re talking about pipes, your furnace is incredibly important. If your furnace gives out during a cold spell, your attention usually goes to finding blankets and space heaters to keep your family warm until it’s repaired. It’s easy to forget the damage that can be occurring in your pipes. Keeping your furnace in good condition with regular maintenance can prevent pipes bursting due to cold weather.
- If you have little to no running water and suspect a frozen pipe, you can attempt to unfreeze this pipe yourself if you can access it. Leave the faucet open so water can flow through, and use a hair dryer to thaw the frozen section of pipe. You can also wrap the pipe in an electric heating pad (if there are no leaks), towels soaked in hot water, or use a space heater.
BE MINDFUL WHILE OUT OF THE HOUSE
Winter is a common time to visit family for the holidays. While many of us want to save a few dollars on our monthly bills where we can, turning off the thermostat while you’re gone can be a disastrous decision. A burst pipe can release 400 liters of water per hour (about 2 full baths). If your pipes burst while you are away, you can be looking at 48 baths-worth of water per day seeping into your home.
KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN A PIPE BURSTS
- As soon as you suspect a burst pipe, shut off all water to the house. Don’t wait until a pipe bursts to figure out where your main water valve is located. The quicker you can get to the valve and stop the flow of water, the less damage there will be.
- Do not use electrical outlets, lights, or ceiling fans anywhere near the burst pipe. Cut off electricity to the area of the house that is affected.
- Call a 24-hour plumber as soon as possible. At Medford Wellington, we have plumbing services available 24/7 for Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents.
- Start cleaning up to prevent further damage. Remove excess water with towels and mops, place aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent wood stains from bleeding into waterlogged carpet, and allow wet cushions and upholstery to air out.
BURST PIPE? CALL MEDFORD WELLINGTON SERVICE ASAP
Don’t wait for a problem to get out of hand before you call for help. We are available 24/7/365 for emergencies, and are happy to perform regular preventative maintenance to make sure your HVAC unit, furnace, and plumbing are all working. Save our number in your phone for an emergency, and call us today to schedule HVAC maintenance or plumbing services.