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How Frozen Pipes Can Cause Water Damage
Winter Plumbing Problems Can Lead To Water Damage Disasters
The weather in the Milwaukee area this winter has been extremely cold. We’ve been suffering through a very long stretch of below freezing temperatures. For local home and business owners this means having to deal with the types of problems this degree of cold weather can cause to your plumbing system. And, one of the biggest unseen threats is how winter can freeze water pipes.
The Problem With Frozen Pipes
When most people think of plumbing emergencies, it’s usually flooding or an issue with the toilet that comes to mind. But through the right set of circumstances, a severe Wisconsin cold snap can cause water pipes to freeze. Of course, when this happens, it’s not the pipe itself that is freezing but the water inside it. Depending on the situation, this can present a significant risk. The immediate issue with ice in a pipe is that it blocks the water flow, so you may not be getting water in some faucets, or even all fixtures, including the toilet, until the ice melts. More threatening, however, is that when water freezes, it expands. In a water pipe’s confined space, freezing water can expand enough to break or crack the line, causing a leak that can lead to further water damage and even flooding if it’s not stopped.
Why Does This Happen?
Frozen pipes are not a guaranteed hazard in the winter for every property. A lot of this depends on specific circumstances coming into play. Of course, the water in pipes will freeze if the temperature drops below the freezing point, but typically most, if not all, of the water pipe laid out in a building is within the confines of the structure itself and thus benefits from the indoor heating.
However, some water pipes may run along walls closer to the exterior of the building. Or the water pipes may be part of an addition to a home or building and thus built into a crawlspace that runs close to the exterior. There may even be a break in the outer wall of a house or commercial space that is letting cold air into the building, and a water pipe is in that vicinity.
Preventing Burst Pipes
Prevention is the best medicine, and keeping the issue from happening at all is one of the most cost-effective fixes. Investing in pipe insulation for vulnerable areas is usually all that’s needed to keep this issue from occurring.
However, if freezing pipes result in some break or leak, this needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. Depending on the scale of the break, an experienced plumber may be sufficient. If it’s much more severe, then a water damage cleanup and restoration company may be more appropriate to keep the issue contained. Emergency Restoration Specialists have over 30 years of experience in exactly this area. Contact us for a prompt, professional response to a burst, leaking pipe in your home or business that has caused damage to your property.