Most people are aware that when water freezes, it expands. That’s why your forgotten can of soda in the freezer exploded. When water freezes in a pipe, it will expand in the same way.

If it expands enough, it will burst, water will escape and serious damage may occur. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water in a day. But this is one disaster you can prevent by taking a few simple precautions.

Both plastic and copper (CPVC, PEX, COPPER) pipes are susceptible to freezing. Pipes freeze for a combination of three reasons: a quick drop in temperatures, poor insulation and a thermostat that is set too low.

Water pipes in warmer climates may be more vulnerable to winter cold spells, since the pipes are more likely to be located in unprotected areas outside of the building insulation. Homeowners can be proactive by determining whether they have any plumbing items that need protection, and then ensuring that they provide that protection.

Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold outside air to flow across the pipes.

When water pipes freeze

Homeowners should be alert to the danger of freezing pipes. Any time temperatures dip to 32 degrees, pipes may freeze, especially when wind chill is a factor.

If your water pipes freeze

If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, the water in your pipes is probably frozen. You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Make sure the faucet is open, and never stand in water while operating an electric appliance. Do not use a blowtorch or any open flame to thaw a pipe, to prevent fires.

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house. Leave the water faucets turned on. Again, make sure your family members know where the water shut-off valve is and how to operate it. Then contact Plumber Master to help.