The cold winter weather can cause a range of issues around the home, but none are more damaging than a burst pipe or sprinkler head. Many of the pipes in a home or building pass through uninsulated areas such as outside walls, attics, and crawlspaces where freezing temperatures can freeze the water in the pipes. The ice blockage will expand within the pipe or fixture, eventually causing a burst that can leak hundreds of gallons of water into your home or building. ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete can clean up and restore the effects of a burst pipe or sprinkler head in Franklin Township, NJ as part of our water damage restoration service. We will thoroughly dry and restore the affected area after removing the water and we will also refer you to a plumbing professional that will fix your broken pipe.
Frozen Pipes and Sprinklers
The pipes in a home or building are vulnerable to freezing in the winter because they pass through poorly heated areas such as outside walls, basements, crawlspaces, and attics. When the water in a pipe freezes, the ice causes the flow of the water to slow down or stop completely and the expansion of the ice puts pressure on the pipe or sprinkler head until it bursts. A pipe burst causes a massive leak into the home or building that can result in significant water damage.
A burst pipe or busted sprinkler head is an emergency because hundreds of gallons of water can spill out in an hour. If you have a pipe burst in your home or building, turn off the main water supply immediately and contact ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete. Our experienced water damage restoration professionals can quickly clean up the mess by removing the water and we will make sure all affected structural elements and furnishings are dried to avoid further damage or mold growth. We also provide construction services to take care of any serious structural damage.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Dealing with a pipe burst or broken sprinkler head is a major inconvenience, especially during the winter. These tips will help you prevent your pipes from freezing and avoid pipe bursts altogether:
- Turn on your faucets just enough for a trickle and keep them on because running water has a much lower chance of freezing. You should have the hot and cold water valves on.
- Open the cabinets under the bathroom and kitchen sink so the heat in the building can keep the pipes warm. Putting a space heater near the pipes can also help.
- Install electrical heat tape or pipe insulation on pipes running through cold areas.
- Use a space heater to keep the temperature in the basement, crawlspace, or attic above freezing.
- Detach and bring in outside hoses and keep the outdoor water supply off during the winter.
Locating Frozen Pipes
Once a pipe freezes, it is only a matter of time before the ice expands enough to cause the pipe to burst. If you suspect that there may be a frozen pipe in your home or building due to low water pressure, you must locate the pipe immediately to thaw it out. You can find a frozen pipe with the following steps:
- Try the faucets throughout your home to determine which supply line has the frozen pipe.
- Turn on one of the faucets in the supply line and keep it running.
- Inspect the pipe of the supply line, starting at the faucet, to locate the frozen pipe.
- Look for bulges, fissures, and layers of frost or ice to identify the frozen pipe.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes have a high risk of bursting and must be thawed as soon as possible. If the pipe is an exposed pipe, the most effective way to defrost it is with a hair dryer. Turn on a faucet on the supply line with the frozen pipe and heat the pipe at the frozen section and move towards the faucet. An infrared or incandescent heat lamp is also effective but do not ever use a flame torch. If the frozen pipe is behind a wall, you can try one of the following options:
- Turn the heat up to help thaw the pipe.
- Heat the wall outside the pipe with an infrared lamp. The heat from these lamps will pass through the air to directly warm up the wall and pipe.
- Tear out the drywall or ceiling to heat the exposed pipe directly with a hair dryer or heat lamp.
Frozen pipes and sprinkler heads are always a threat to occur in freezing weather so make sure you take preventative action when the temperature drops below freezing. If a pipe or sprinkler head bursts in your home or building in Franklin Township, NJ, shut off the water and give us a call immediately to clean up the damage. You can call us 24 hours a day at (732) 751-4004 for emergency water damage restoration.