Frozen Pipes Burst? Here's What to Do Next
Frozen Pipes Burst? Here's What to Do Next

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Winter is when homeowners are likely to experience frozen pipe bursts more than any other time of the year. The problem can happen to anyone in Indianapolis, IN. The possibility of a burst depends on the location of the pipe and whether it's insulated.

When temperatures drop in winter, the risk of water pipes freezing and subsequently bursting goes up. Burst pipes are among the major causes of water damage in winter. Mold remediation, water damage and crawl space repairs can be costly.

Why do frozen pipes burst?

Water pipes burst in winter as a result of freezing and expansion of water – a phenomenon that gradually exerts pressure on the pipes. This happens when the temperature of the air surrounding the pipe falls, and the heat from the water inside escapes to the outside. As the heat gets transferred to the cold air, water drops to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which it starts to freeze. When the pressure becomes too much for the pipe to contain, it will burst. The pipe will rupture at its weakest points. In most cases, it’s the joints and uninsulated parts that burst.

Since a burst pipe is a potentially destructive problem, you have to act fast to minimize damage or loss when it happens.

What to Do After a Frozen Pipe Burst

In case of frozen pipe bursts, the first thing you should do is to shut off the main valve to cut off the water supply to the rest of the home. Once you do this, run all the faucets. This will relieve the pressure that may be building inside your plumbing lines.

Other things you can do include:

1) Thaw the pipe - If water isn’t coming out of a particular faucet or flowing to the toilet of your Indianapolis, IN, home, warm the connecting pipe. Use a hairdryer to thaw it. Start at the faucet, then go out slowly to the rest of the frozen pipe.

2) Spot leaks – Once you thaw the pipe, turn the water on, then try to spot any leaks. Send someone down the crawl space or to the attic to listen for leaks and to visually inspect the pipes. Identifying leaks can help stop simple water problems from turning into costly water damage.

3) Call your plumber – A burst pipe can wreak havoc in your home in a short time. To limit the extent of water damage, call your plumber to investigate the issue further and let them fix the ruptured pipes.

4) Turn off your HVAC unit – Cool down your house using your air conditioner and let it remove excess moisture. Once your home has cooled off, run the heater to raise the temperature. This will saturate the air with moisture. Turn on the air conditioner again to remove saturated air.

5) Shut off electricity – If water damage has occurred because of flooding, cut off the electricity supply to that area. You might need to shut off power to your entire home if you’re unsure of the location of water damage.

6) Slow down water leaks – Once you identify the source of leaks, use a plumbing tape or rags to slow down dripping. Leaks can damage drywall, ruin the floor and set you back hundreds of dollars in repairs.

7) Document the water damage – If your home is insured against severe water damage, you also want to make sure you take stock of the damage that has occurred and use it to file an insurance claim. Take photos of the water damaged area, especially the floor, walls, ceiling and your belongings, then contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.

8) Mop up excess water – Don’t let any water linger on the floor longer than is necessary. Excess water can cause damage and create the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to grow. So mop up puddles using a rag or a wet/dry vacuum.

9) Protect your belongings – Move clothing, furniture, carpets, and appliances away from the source of the water leaks.

Once you fix the frozen pipe burst, do the following to avoid a repeat:

  • Leave your heater on while you’re away.
  • Install a sump pump to remove water and moisture.
  • Keep the internal temperatures inside your home at 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Insulate your exposed water pipes, attic and crawl space.
  • Seal up cracks, holes or spaces to keep out freezing air.
  • Leave your faucets to drip as it will prevent pressure buildup.
  • Open kitchen or bathroom cabinets so warm air can circulate to your pipes.

Want to stop water from frozen pipe bursts from leaking and damaging your crawl space floor and walls? Contact your local basement and crawl space contractor to request a free crawl space inspection and insulation quote today!