Your Flood Damage May Come From Inside During The Winter
Residential and commercial properties in Germantown, Hales Corner, Menomonee Falls, and the Cudahy area are built to last through the winters of the Milwaukee region. When the snow piles high on the roof, people can stay safe and warm inside, whether it’s living their lives or putting in an honest day’s work.
However, when the weather conditions are right, winter can inadvertently also subject a building to the kind of damage normally associated with flooding. But how does this happen in the middle of the coldest season of the year? In this case, it’s all about the vulnerability of water pipes.
You Can’t Fight Physics
The freezing point of water is approximately 25℉. One of water’s properties is that as it freezes and becomes a solid, it expands. So if you were to take a jar, and fill it to the top with water, then put it in a freezer, that water, with nowhere else to go, would expand and possibly crack the jar.
The same principle applies to water pipes in a home or commercial property, although this is not always guaranteed because the weather becomes colder. Water pipes in an urban setting, for example, are buried underground, so that the layer of earth, then snow, acts as a natural insulator, preventing the temperature from dropping to the point where the water underneath freezes, similar to how water remains in liquid just under a layer of ice.
Depending on where the pipes are located, they have some natural protection from colder temperatures due to the building’s own warmth. But if there are cracks in the building wall or some parts of the pipe are more vulnerable, such as running through a crawlspace, then a sustained cold snap running for a few days could be enough to freeze the pipe.
The immediate result is no water running to taps, showers, toilets, or laundry machines. However, a greater danger is that the pipes may have burst due to the explanation of water to ice. Once the ice melts back into water, this can cause a major leak, and you may not know about it until you finally see excessive water damage in the area where the leak occurs.
Treating The Problem
If pipes freeze in the winter, the natural solution is to warm up the pipes so that the ice melts back into water. However, depending on the location of the freeze, this is best done by professionals. Some property owners have tried do-it-yourself solutions—such as using a blowtorch—to disastrous results, burning down their own building.
Beyond treating the pipes when they are frozen there are also preventive measures that can be taken. Insulating vulnerable pipes, for example, is an effective way to stop freezing from ever happening. However, this is also best undertaken by experienced professionals.
Call ERS If You Have Frozen Pipes That Have Caused Water To Leak Into Your Home or Business
If your home or business has sustained water damage due to the freezing of pipes, we can help. Emergency Restoration Specialists have over 30 years of experience right here in Cudahy, serving the Milwaukee area with water damage repair and restoration. Contact us 24/7 for a prompt, professional response.