Are frozen pipes in your Western New York home on your mind this winter?
Our winters here in Buffalo are infamously and frigidly cold. Every year, pipes freeze in thousands of homes in Western New York. Understanding why pipes freeze may help you to avoid frozen pipes this winter season.
Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.
Pipes that freeze most frequently in the Buffalo, New York area are:
- – Pipes that are outdoors and exposed to severe cold, like hose aprons, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines
- – Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets
- – Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
Being as we are in the coldest times of the year, you may already have frozen pipes in your Western New York home. If you have frozen pipes, you can try these methods to thaw them to prevent them from bursting:
- – Keep a slow running or suspected frozen pipe faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- – Use heat on the section of frozen pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater, or by wrap the pipes with towels soaked in hot water.
- – Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a local Western New York licensed plumber.
- – Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
How to Protect your Pipes From Freezing
You can protect your Buffalo, New York home’s pipes, prior to the onset of colder weather, by following these recommendations:
- – Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions.
- – Remove, drain, and store hoses that were used outdoors in the warmer New York months.
- – Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- – Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- – Check around your Buffalo home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- – Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Prevention of frozen pipes is the best solution to keep your pipes from bursting in the cold Western New York winter months. Some suggestions for keeping your pipes from freezing are:
- – Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- – Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing.
- – When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- – Set the thermostat to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
- – If you will be going away during the cold Western New York weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
If your home’s pipes have frozen, call us right away. Our plumbers at Reimer Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are available Day or Night, with no extra charge for nights or weekends. Your frozen pipes cannot wait: a frozen pipe is at risk of bursting and flooding your home.
We also help local homeowners prevent frozen pipes by installing insulating sheathing.
For speedy service here in Buffalo, New York, call us or request service online. We will make sure that frozen pipes in your Western New York home are not getting you down this winter.