In countries like Australia, winter often brings falling temperatures. Thus, as soon as the leaves start to fall, homeowners are advised to winterize their homes, particularly their plumbing.
Frozen pipes that often end up bursting are a costly yet common frustration for most people. It is one of the causes of property damage, requiring costly repairs. Luckily, there are ways to prevent freezing pipes and protect your plumbing system.
In addition to keeping your pipes warm during the cold months, enlisting help from reputable emergency plumbers in Melbourne is an essential step in ensuring the health of your plumbing system. Read further to learn about how pipes freeze and ways to prevent it.
How Pipes Freeze
Your water pipes become vulnerable to freezing as the winter season approaches. Water will start to freeze as temperatures drop, which increases the risk of a pipe rupture. Once your pipes burst, it can result in leaks and even flooding.
Water expands as it freezes. It is for this reason that you must be careful about what items to keep in the freezer. Soda cans, for instance, can explode if you put them in the freezer for a long time. The same is true with water pipes – the water inside expands as it freezes, which then puts your home’s plumbing system at risk of damage.
Take note though that the pipes seldom burst in portions with ice formed. This is because the freezing parts of the pipe will force pressure between the ice blockage and the faucet, and this is where bursting takes place.
Another factor that causes your pipes to freeze is wind chill. When the unheated spaces of your plumbing system have cracks, holes or openings, cold air is allowed in, and this cooling effect will hasten ice formation. Remember, even the smallest opening can allow a harmful amount of cold air to damage your plumbing.
3 Ways to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Indeed, pipes get easily frozen during winter, but there are ways to protect them from freezing and bursting. Here are some helpful ideas:
1. Insulate pipes
Pipe insulation is considered the first line of defense against frozen pipes. It helps keep the pipe closer to the temperature of the water inside it. So make sure to insulate all your pipes, paying attention to those in unheated areas in your house like in your basement, attic, and garage.
Pipes can be fitted with fiberglass or foam rubber sleeves to minimize the possibilities of freezing. Additional insulation may be added to the ceiling and walls to keep the pipes warmer.
2. Seal openings
Before winter starts, having the pipes inspected in your current home (and most especially in your new home in Australia, if you have just moved from a different country) for any openings, cracks, and holes is crucial when it comes to preventing breezes from freezing your plumbing system. Immediately seal all identified openings to prevent ice blockage, contain warm air, and boost your home’s insulation.
3. Cover crawl spaces
If you have ventilated crawl spaces in your property, cover them before winter arrives. Foam or cardboard pieces that are cut to the dimension of the vents can be used to seal them. And don’t forget to secure them with durable duct tape.
Generally, the best way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to keep your pipes and home properly insulated and warm throughout the cold season. A thorough home inspection is important to identify and address any openings or cracks not just in your plumbing system, but in your entire house as well.
This means hiring a plumbing expert to do this task on your behalf. You may think that this is not necessary and is just an additional expense. However, this smart investment gives you the leverage of a well-trained professional who knows exactly what to look for and how to address issues that will put your pipes at risk of rupture.
And in the event that your pipes still freeze, despite implementing ways to prevent it, don’t attempt to thaw them out on your own. When done incorrectly, your pipes could rupture, leading to costly repairs and replacement. Instead, call a professional plumber to unfreeze your pipes correctly so you can enjoy running water again in winter in no time.
Based in South Melbourne, Blue Diamond Plumbing was founded in 1985, working on new homes, repairs and commercial contracts. Over time they have grown to become some of the best plumbers Melbourne has to offer. Since 2001 the company has specialised in Emergency Plumbing and Property Maintenance, Repairs and Renovations for homes and businesses in Melbourne and inner city suburbs. Owner Rod Diamond has over 30 years experience with emergency plumbing in Melbourne’s inner suburbs.