Save the plumbing when pipes freeze in the winter

While it's improbable that your pipes will freeze in Atlanta, it's still possible. When the temperature...

While it's improbable that your pipes will freeze in Atlanta, it's still possible. When the temperature does fall far enough, it's best to be prepared.

Frozen pipes are more than a mild inconvenience. Pipes filled with ice can turn into a messy, expensive disaster if you don't take care of them quickly. When water freezes inside a pipe, the ice expands and, if the ice expands enough, the pipe bursts. While frozen metal pipes burst the fastest, any pipe will burst if the ice expands enough. You can save your home's plumbing by taking steps to quickly thaw frozen pipes and replace damaged pipes.

Try to keep pipes from freezing at all by taking measures such as turning off the water to the house if you'll be away on vacation in winter, and keeping the house warm enough that pipes don't have a chance to freeze. Once they are frozen, however, you need to address the problem quickly to keep damage to a minimum. Many homeowners try to jump in and fix frozen pipes themselves, hoping to save some money. Sometimes it works out, but for inexperienced plumbers it can end up costing a lot more than hiring a plumber in the first place.

So, what can you do while you're waiting for help to arrive? You need to turn the water off and get some warmth on the pipe to keep the problem from getting bigger. Set up a small heater or use a hair dryer to gradually warm the pipe, but shut the water off first by either turning a knob on the pipe or turning off the water pump.

You can ask your plumber in Atlanta for tips on how to turn the water off, if you're not familiar with the steps to turn off the water. Your plumber might also offer suggestions on preparing for his or her arrival and for unique measures for cutting costs, such as:

  • Switching to a different type of pipe. Pipe made from different materials varies widely in price, so your plumber might have suggestions on cutting costs by switching to a different material, though it's not always possible. Also, as PVC pipe expands more than metal pipe, you can generally expect to see less damage if you opt for PVC pipe.
  • Bypassing unneeded bends in piping or pipe that goes to facilities that are no longer in use, such as a bathroom that has been made over for other purposes. While rare, this can occur in the event of a remodeled home.

Check with several plumbers in Atlanta to find the one willing to answer your questions and who can arrive quickly to fix your frozen plumbing.

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