We are experiencing a severe cold snap right now in the Branson Tri-Lakes Area. Frozen water pipes are a serious possibility during this below freezing temperatures we are having. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture most any pipe filled with water which provides no place for the ice to expand.
When a frozen pipe bursts it will leak hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water. Broken water pipes can easily cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Sad when you consider how easy it is to prevent a frozen water pipe.
Water pipes are most susceptible to freezing when located on an outside wall, under a sink on an outside wall, or in an unheated crawl space. If your pipes are located in the crawl space under your home make sure all of your foundation vents are closed. If you have power in your crawl space you might consider a small electric heater. Tanco Lumber and Hardware have a nice well house heater with a thermostat that will keep those pipes from freezing. Another trick is turn on a faucet on the opposite end of the house where your water comes in from main supply line. This will keep water flowing through most of the supply lines of the house
If you turn on your faucet and no water comes out of the pipes you have a frozen pipe that may not have burst yet. In the situation where the pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you need to promptly thaw it out. There are a few thawing techniques you can use. You can use hair dryer, hot towels, a heating pad or heat tape. If you have a pipe that is located on an outside wall that is prone to freezing you can place electric heat tape on the pipe and plug the heat tape in when temperatures drop below freezing. Never use a flame torch because of the fire hazard it creates. Open flame torches are the most common cause of pipe thawing related home fires. We have seen cases where a copper pipe heated with a blow torch can start a fire inside a hidden wall that can smolder unattended and burn a building down.
If you have a burst pipe stop by and see your friends at Tanco Lumber and Hardware in Forsyth, Missouri or Tanco Lumber II and Hardware in Branson West Missouri. We should have everything you need in our plumbing section to fix the broken pipe!