Can Pipes Freeze in Central California?

Can Pipes Freeze

Short answer first: you bet they can. Since that may not tell you much you didn’t already know, and won’t do a lot to protect your home, what can you do to prevent frozen pipes? And, equally to the point, when should you call a plumbing professional like ContactAce Plumbing if you suspect the plumbing in your Sacramento home or business could be in danger?

What Causes Burst Pipes?

Burst pipes are usually caused by water that freezes in the pipes. Unlike most things, which contract as they get colder, water expands when it freezes. When pipes are surrounded by insulation, the air surrounding the insulated area has to be very cold for a prolonged period of time before you’d experience a burst. However, not all pipes are well-insulated. If part of your plumbing runs through a basement, crawlspace, or garage (or anywhere else that’s not completely finished), your pipes could freeze in just a few hours.

But It’s Not That Cold Out…

Don’t go letting your guard down just because it’s a mild winter — or the height of summer. We’ve dealt with burst pipes when the thermometer was flirting with triple digits; they can happen any time of year. Pressure changes cause pipes to burst, too, and it doesn’t even take much. A DIY plumbing repair, mineral buildup from hard water, improper installation, a shoddy soldering job, or damage to exposed pipes from falling objects can all lead to a break. Factor in a good cold snap, of course, and the same things that can cause a warm-weather break have the added assistance from ice as well.

Preventing Burst Pipes

The first thing to do to prevent burst pipes is to ensure you’re starting with quality workmanship. That means getting a professional plumber in for repairs instead of hiring a handyman or doing it yourself. The next thing is to ensure your pipes are insulated. As we mentioned earlier, this is especially true of areas that don’t have the same degree of insulation as your home’s conditioned space. You can get inexpensive insulation at your local hardware store or big box home store. Something else that works is to leave the faucets on at a slow drip; just make sure you put down a bucket to catch the water so it’s not going to waste. Whatever you do, do not try to heat your pipes with an open flame, and don’t come near them with a hair dryer or space heater if they’ve already started to leak.

And If a Pipe Bursts Anyway?

You can take every preventive measure under the sun, but even then you may still encounter a burst pipe. If it happens, don’t panic. Shut off the water supply to the affected pipe. We also suggest shutting off the circuit breaker to any areas that have severe water damage. Once you’ve done a bit of triage, reach out to Ace Plumbing for water and slab leak repairs. We offer emergency plumbing repairs to Sacramento and the surrounding area, and we’re always just a phone call away.