Fixing Frozen and Broken Pipes

How to Fix Frozen and Broken Pipes Due To Winter Temperatures

How to Fix Frozen and Broken Pipes Due To Winter Temperatures

If your pipes have frozen during the winter, you’re facing a potentially worse situation than a cut-off water supply if they burst. Frozen and burst pipes in the winter are a common problem. If yours have ruptured in cold weather, follow the easy steps below to repair them — and learn how to prepare them for cold weather the right way.

What Causes Pipes to Burst in Winter

Pipes freeze in winter when water is left to stand instead of flow. As it gets colder, that standing water begins freezing. As it moves closer to freezing, it expands, increasing pressure against the pipe walls and leading them to rupture. While this can be a big hassle during cold months, and expensive to deal with, the good news is that it can be fixed (or avoided entirely with the right preparations).

Get Help With Your Broken Pipes From The Sacramento Plumbing Expert You Can TrustCall (916) 233-4194

How to Fix Frozen and Broken Pipes in Winter

Thaw frozen pipes. The first step to repair your broken pipes is to thaw them. You’ll know they’re frozen if you turn on a faucet and water only trickles out. Look at pipes close to exterior walls first because those will have been exposed to the coldest temperatures. Turn on your faucets while you thaw the pipes. As they thaw, the flowing water will help reduce ice in the pipes. Apply heat to the frozen section of pipe. You can do this in a variety of ways: wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe, wrap the pipe with hot towels, place a space heater near the pipe, or use a hair dryer.

If you want to repair the broken pipes yourself instead of calling a licensed plumber, here are steps you can follow. (For a quick fix until a plumber arrives, simply wrap the pipe in duct tape or use a c-clamp or sleeve clamp to patch the leak temporarily.)

  1. Find a heated place to position your stop-and-waste valve (this will help prevent freezing in the future).
  2. Turn off your primary valve for water entering your home. Turn on the lowest fixture and let water drain.
  3. With a pipe cutter, remove the burst section. Remove burrs from the pipe end with steel wool. Take the petcock screw off of the valve and then install the valve.
  4. Cut a slightly too long length of copper pipe, being sure it’s the same diameter as the existing water line.
  5. Clean the pipe and inside the stop-and-waste valve with your steel wool.
  6. Spread soldering flux externally on the pipe and in the valve and then slide the valve onto the pipe.
  7. Heat the fitting and pipe using a propane torch.
  8. Push two inches of solder into the joint where the pipe and valve meet and allow it to melt. Then solder around that section.
  9. Install the new assembly to your water line by soldering it in place, using copper fitting as needed.
  10. Put the petcock screw back in place, then open the water line.
  11. If temperatures drop again, turn the valve off before they reach freezing and open any spigots below the valve.
  12. Drain the pipe by removing the petcock screw. Cover unheated sections of pipe above the valve with foam insulation.

Protect Your Pipes With Winterization

Next time, in addition to your new stop-and-waste valve, you can prevent pipe damage by winterizing your pipes properly and taking these simple steps to prepare for winter.

Heat Your Home

Keep your home heated, especially with temperatures that approach freezing.

Insulate Pipes

Be sure your pipes are protected from cold weather with insulation, particularly those close to or on your home’s exterior.

Seal Any Drafty Spaces

Insulate drafty spaces like attics and crawl spaces to protect against cold air.

Seal All Cracks

Repair any cracks or damage to your home’s exterior before it gets cold.

Turn On Faucets

Let water run slowly during cold spells to help prevent ice from forming in the pipes. We recommend reclaiming and using this water so as not to be wasteful.

Remember outdoor Water Lines

Shut off any outdoor water lines at the main valve and drain them of water. If this isn’t possible due to the pipes needing use, they should be properly insulated. If this still isn’t enough to prevent freezing, leaving your water slowly flowing during freezing temperatures can keep them from freezing. It’s always best to reclaim the water for other uses when you do this such as watering plants.

Get Help With Your Broken Pipes From The Sacramento Plumbing Expert You Can TrustCall (916) 233-4194

McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is here to help you repair your frozen and broken pipes. We can also help you with winterizing your pipes to avoid damage.

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