Can Pipes in Florida Freeze?
While freezing temperatures don't hit Florida often, they can happen, especially in North Florida. And when those freezing temperatures hit, they usually come as quite a surprise. It only takes a few hours of at or below freezing to ice over your pipes, so Floridians need to be on the lookout. Here are the steps you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Why Are Frozen Pipes Bad?
Let's first explain - why should you even care if your pipes freeze? They'll just thaw out eventually, right?
Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. As the cold air and water hit your pipes, they begin to contract. If parts of your pipes have weakened over the years, these contractions can cause them to leak. Eventually, these leaks can cause the pipes to burst entirely, causing major flooding throughout your foundation and your home.
Of course, leaks are a major problem in their own right. But what if it's just a small leak that you don't notice? Water will just continue to flow uninhibited without your knowledge. As soon as the temperature begins to rise again, mold could start to grow in all the hard-to-reach places underneath and inside your home. Mold causes numerous health problems and can make your home unsafe.
Over time, the structural integrity of your home could even be threatened. Unless you have very good insurance, you'll be stuck footing the bills for repairing the broken pipes, removing water-logged walls and floors, and installing new pipes and structures. In other words, it's a costly and unnecessary expense.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Luckily, there are plenty of precautions you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing during a Florida squall. These steps include:
- Keep water running: The good news is that water can't freeze if it's running. Therefore, when the weather dips below freezing, turn on your hot and cold water taps until you have a stream that's about the diameter of a pencil. This small flow should keep your pipes safe. Always use the faucet that's furthest away from the shut-off valve, as that will ensure water flows through the entire house to get to the faucet.
- Warm up cold areas of your home: If you have any areas of your home that are exposed to the cooler temperatures, do your best to warm them. Drag space heaters into open-air kitchens, exposed patios, and other places where pipes might make direct contact with the chilled environment.
- Get warm air into pipes under cabinets: Another place you'll want to heat up is underneath your cabinets where your pipes live. To do this, open up all the cabinet doors, as this lets warm air from your home seep inside.
- Disconnect outside hose: You know that hose you have outside for watering the garden or topping off the pool? You need to disconnect it immediately. Water in the hose will most certainly freeze, which will both destroy the hose and also put the pipe connected to the hose at risk.
Your pipes also need to be prepped for summer. Read more about that here.
Don't Let Frozen Pipes Get You Down
If you follow these instructions, you should be fine this January and the rest of winter. However, if you do experience a frozen pipe incident, don't be afraid to call David Gray Plumbing at (904) 724-7211 for help. We can patch or replace your broken pipes so your system is better than ever.