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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

FROZEN Pipes Bursting During Beautiful Spring Weather?

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

This is an image displaying a frozen and burst outdoor water faucet and a diagram of how a frost-proof faucet works. Above: A frozen and burst outdoor water faucet. Below: A diagram of how a frost-proof faucet works.

Preventing Frozen Faucets from Flooding Your Property in the Springtime

In the cold weather, which is common in the midwest during the Fall and Winter seasons, outdoor water faucets installed on the exterior of the structure can freeze easily. When water freezes, it expands. This puts stress on the pipes, causing many to burst. This can lead to water damage if not properly maintained.

In the top picture, the water remained in the pipe. The freezing weather took its toll and froze the water. The water expanded, causing the stress on the pipe, causing it to burst. When the property owner opened the valve, the water pressure forced the water through the burst pipe, which flooded the property. 

Here are 2 solutions to prevent outside water faucets from freezing:

1. A Properly Installed Frost-Proof Faucet

First, consider investing in a frost-proof faucet which can help avoid water damage. See the second picture. The water only flows when the valve is opened by the handle. For example, when you turn off the faucet, you expect water to trickle to a stop in a few seconds. That is because the handle turns off the valve a foot back inside the pipe, as the image illustrates. Notice the faucet is installed horizontally, but with a slight downward slant pushing the water outside. This keeps the water either drained out of the faucet and far enough inside to keep the water from freezing and expanding. However, if your faucet slants upward as it leaves the structure, the valve will still close BUT water will sit inside the pipe, creating opportunity for a frozen and burst pipe. Hire a professional plumber to inspect the pipe and check for leaks to avoid water damage.

2. Purchase and Install a Cover ($5 or Less)

The other option focuses on covering the faucet and keeping it warm. This is a great option if your exterior siding is fairly flat, not lapped or heavily varied. You can visit a local hardware store and get a styrofoam cover for under $5. When installing it over the faucet, make sure it is tight against the wall of the property and traps the heat inside, insulating your pipes from the freeze.

In the midwest, the weather can be quite unpredictable. Therefore, the best solution for this problem is planning ahead and keeping an eye on freezing weather BEFORE it arrives. Doing so reduces time and money repairing damages caused by the rapid and drastic temperature changes. If you have any questions, or water damage does occur in your property, the pros at SERVPRO of Harrisonville / Belton / Raymore are “here to help” 24/7. Call (816) 884-2240.

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