Frozen Tubes: Defrosting and Prevention Tips

frozen pipesAs temperatures begin to drop in some parts of the country, it is important to be aware of how cold weather affects a building’s plumbing. Frozen pipes often occur in places that are exposed to items such as outdoor hoses and water supply lines in unheated indoor areas such as basements, climbing frames and even kitchen cabinets. As the water in the pipes begins to freeze, the expansion puts tremendous pressure on the wall of the pipe. Regardless of quality and strength, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pre-season preparation

Before winter is in full swing, you can prevent the pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

1.) Locate all shut-off valves on your property and check that they work.

2.) Drain water from swimming pools, irrigation pipes and hose supply lines.

3.) Identify areas where pipes may be exposed to severe cold (outdoor faucets, walls, ceilings, sliding areas, windows, etc.), and insulate both cold and cold water pipes.

4.) Close the gaps around the property where cold air can enter and come in contact with the pipes. Even the smallest opening can let in enough cold air for the pipe to freeze.

5.) Consider installing certain products, such as insulating domes, pipe sleeves, or UL-listed heat tapes, to prevent freezing.

Continuous prevention

Take preventive measures on extraordinary days…

1.) Open the cabinet doors to allow warmer air to flow around the plumbing.

2.) Allow cold water to drip from the taps served by the exposed pipes. Conduction of water through the pipe prevents the pipes from freezing.

3.) Keep the thermostat at the same temperature (at least 55 ° F) day and night. A higher heating bill may occur, but it can prevent a much more expensive repair job from freezing.

Thawing frozen tubes

If you experience a “no flow” situation:

1.) Turn off the main water valve on the property and leave the taps open until the pipes melt.

2.) Do not place open flames, electronic heaters or hair dryers directly on the tubes. Patience and a warm environment are the best way to defrost pipes without damage.

3.) When reconnecting the main water valve, please have one person slowly turn on the valve while another person walks on the property to make sure there is no water leaking. If water is flowing, immediately turn off the main water valve on the property and open the taps at the bottom of the property, i.e. the basement sink.

Check for leaks and efficiency

For greater security, consider using WaterSignal. Our breakthrough remote water monitoring technology uses a non-intrusive tool to continuously read water meters and send data wirelessly to a secure website portal. However, property owners and managers can view real-time water consumption from any device that supports the Internet at any time. In the event of a major leak, WaterSignal will send an alarm immediately. The alarm can be sent to the driver on both a computer and a smartphone to take action and can be customized for working hours as well as after hours and weekends.

While the WaterSignal monitoring system can help reduce the catastrophic costs associated with undetected leaks, the data collected by the system also plays a vital role in the building manager’s water conservation efforts.

If you need more information about WaterSignal, contact us today.


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