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It's true, Jacksonville FL rarely sees temperatures that drop below freezing, but it happens, and when it does, your home's pipes could freeze. That's because in the South, many homeowners don't insulate their pipes.
We've gotten plenty of panicked calls from customers who don't know what to do about it. As frozen pipes can lead to property damage, it's good to be concerned, but there's no need to panic! Here's all you need to know to handle frozen pipes, if and when, they occur.
Check to See if the Pipes Are Frozen or Busted
Water sitting in pipes can easily freeze and cause a busted pipe. If you suspect your plumbing is frozen, the first step is to check your piping. If it looks solid and intact, it's likely just frozen. But if a pipe looks like it's split, you have a problem best left to a professional plumber. If you see an outside pipe that's covered in ice or is spraying water, that also indicates a snap. Turn off the water main and call for a repair!
Broken Pipes Need Emergency Repair
Once you're aware you have a broken pipe, act quickly:
- Immediately turn off the water supply at the main valve.
- Close all faucets.
- To drain water away from your home, open only the lowest hot and cold faucets in the house.
Don't Use the Toilet if the Water Supply is Broken
Keep in mind that when you turn off the water supply, indoor plumbing doesn't do its job. While there are ways to flush a toilet when the water is shut off, such as manually filling the tank with water from another source, if a pipe is broken and you continue to flush the toilet, serious damage can occur. Even the smallest of trickles from a little hole can damage drywall, ruin floors, and cause thousands of dollars in damage.
Use a Hair Dryer or Heater to Thaw Small Freezes
If one or more pipes is simply frozen, you can use a hair dryer or small heater to thaw them. Here's how to safely do it:
- Turn on the faucet and keep it running. Even a small drip from faucets can keep frozen pipes from bursting.
- Slowly apply heat to the frozen area but be careful to not let the source of heat touch the water.
- Once full water pressure is restored, leave the faucet running for several minutes so any accumulated ice clears the pipes.
Be patient when thawing frozen pipes and don't give in to any temptation to speed up the process by using open flames or placing the heating device directly on the pipe. You can also speed things up by opening cabinets and crawl space doors so heat from the house can enter them.
Call Your Plumber
If any problems persist, contact a licensed plumber. Be sure to ask about having vulnerable pipes protected from future cold snaps.
For more than 25 years, David Gray Plumbing has been serving the plumbing needs of Jacksonville, FL homeowners and we're here to answer any questions you have. To learn more about all the services we offer, or to schedule regular plumbing maintenance, give us a call at (904) 467-0784 or contact us online today.