How to Detect, Prevent, and Repair Water Damage during Extreme Cold Temperatures

How to Detect, Prevent, and Repair Water Damage during Extreme Cold Temperatures
December brought some of the coldest temperatures we had seen in North Georgia in 33 years. With temperatures falling well below freezing for nearly a week during the Christmas holidays, many of us had hoped for a snowy, wintery wonderland. 
However, instead of a White Christmas, many homeowners and businesses would up dealing with frozen pipes and water damage. Between 12/23 and 12/25, one plumber logged over 1500 calls from frantic business and homeowners with busted pipes.

How to Detect Frozen Pipes

Here's what is most important to understand about frozen pipes. While a percentage of pipes will burst quickly, depending on their environment (temps, location, etc.), many pipes don't show signs of damage until they begin to thaw.
It can sometimes be days or weeks after a major freeze before you realize there is a problem. Here are some warning signs to be aware of...
  • Take note of any faucets that may be running with less water pressure than normal (usually a trickle, a slow flow, or no water coming out at all)
  • Walk around the exterior of your home and check for any water that might be running out of walls or siding
  • Check the ceilings of your home for any water marks or stains
  • Listen for any whistling or banging noises coming from your pipes
  • Be aware of strange bubbling sounds when you flush a toilet

How to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Because below-freezing temperatures are a fairly rare occurrence in our area, our plumbing system is not set up to endure the extreme weather drops as well as other regions of the United States. Therefore, it is important that you take these precautions in the future to help combat pipes freezing in your home.
  • Disconnect all outdoor hoses from exterior spigots, shut off the indoor water valves that support those areas, and place an insulated faucet protector over each one.
  • Run a constant trickle/stream of water on all indoor faucets. If you want to be able to use the water vs. wasting it, place a small bowl or bucket under the faucet and use the excess to water indoor plants or fill pet bowls.
  • Keep your thermostat on at least 65 degrees at all times until the outside temperatures climb back above freezing for at least 24 hours.

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