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How to Prevent Pipe Bursts

In Woodbury, we are no stranger to freezing temperatures. Minnesota natives are likely hot chocolate connoisseurs, experienced winter drivers, and pro snow-shovelers. However, preventing pipe bursts can sometimes be overlooked, especially if you’ve recently moved into a new home or are going on an extended vacation. This article will address the dangers of neglecting to prepare for winter water damage as well as specifics on what to watch for in the seemingly never-ending winter months.

 What’s the Big Deal?

Water is one of the only substances on earth that expands when in solid form. If this weren’t true, life on planet earth would be much different. However, even though the unique properties of ice benefit our earth, they don’t quite have the same effect on pipes. No matter the strength of a pipe, frozen water inside can exert a more outward force on pipe walls than what they are designed for. Although not all frozen pipes will lend themselves to a pipe burst fiasco, it can cause alarm when the kitchen faucet refuses to spout out water. Pipes that are exposed to severe cold (sprinkler lines, swimming pool supply lines, external water heating lines, etc.) and pipes that run close to exterior walls are at risk of freezing. This can result in a basement being inches deep in frigid water, or a bathroom that suddenly looks like someone forgot to turn off the faucet.

How to Protect Pipes

If you haven’t been able to adequately prepare your home’s pipes for the winter season, this checklist is for you!

  • Invest in pipe insulation. Products include pipe sleeves, heat tape, or heat cable that can be obtained online or at a local hardware store. As a temporary solution, a newspaper can provide some degree of insulation.
  • Drain water from supply lines. This process is usually outlined in manufacturer instructions. Only put antifreeze in these lines unless advised.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will raise the average temperature and prevent freezing pipes.
  • Consider moving exposed pipes inward to provide increased protection from freezing temperatures.

Other Prevention Measures

Since winter is well underway in Woodbury, here are a few suggestions that are quick, easy, and effective.

  • If there are exposed pipes in the garage, keep the garage doors shut.
  • Maintain a steady drip of water for faucets, especially during the night. This is important mainly for sinks or tubs that aren’t frequently used. (Utility sinks and guest bathrooms are common examples.)
  • Pay the extra money to leave the heat on while you’re away on vacation. You may incur a higher heating bill, but a much costlier repair bill can be avoided.
  • Open cabinet doors to promote warm air circulation around pipes.

The reason homeowners fear a pipe burst is because of the water damage that can follow. Tens of gallons of water can spew out of a tiny crack in a pipe, causing warped flooring, soggy drywall, and an unhappy onlooker. Circumstances may necessitate a call to a professional water damage restoration company to deal professionally with winter water damage. ICC Restoration has responded to water damage in Woodbury for years. Call the professionals for help in addressing all your water damage needs.


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