We’re well past the first freeze of the season, and if your pipes survived without any leaks, you’re probably thinking your plumbing is safe. That, however, would be optimistic, as those weeklong sub-zero spells are yet to come. Those sustained arctic temperatures are the worst for plumbing. They can penetrate some protective coverings on water lines and create an ice blockage that can back up water or create pressure that prompts a burst in a valve or connection. That’s when we can help with water removal and flood disaster cleanup, repair, and restoration for residential water damage in DeKalb, Sycamore, Genoa, or nearby communities. To help prevent your pipes from freezing and breaking this winter, ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning Services by Skip can provide some information and tips for you to consider.
A detailed study of frozen and bursting pipes was conducted at the University of Illinois, and for the most part, it still remains a textbook on what steps to take to prevent this type of disaster. Researcher Jeffrey Gordon showed that pipes burst not because of ice pressing on the interior walls of the pipe, but by ice putting extreme pressure on the volume of water in the pipe.
Aside from keeping the air around pipes heated, the study has two basic recommendations: to cover pipes thoroughly with insulation rated for the coldest-on-record temperature for your area, and to replace plumbing with pipes that have additional air space to help alleviate some of the added pressure. The study showed that an extended exterior temperature of 19 degrees is roughly what it takes to start forming ice blockages in unprotected or under-protected pipes. From the time the blockage forms, on average, it will take four hours for the pipe to burst. In some cases, it can happen in as little as 90 minutes.
Disasters caused by burst pipes are all too common. The decade prior to the Illinois study showed a total of $4 billion dollars in losses nationally due to freezing pipes. Don’t let it happen to you. If instructed to let water run during the coldest nights, do so. Again, according to Illinois Extension experts, you should run both hot and cold faucets in a very small stream of water. It will help keep the ice from forming and water from sitting in the lines. If you do have a burst pipe, call your plumber, and then call us at 815-754-5500. We’re your best option for residential water disaster repair and restoration in DeKalb County and surrounding areas.