Climate Change Effects

Climate change results in temperature swings. Parts of the country that don't typically freeze may suddenly be plunged into short-term freeze conditions. In the early spring of 2007, southern California and Florida experienced extreme fluctuations in temperature that resulted in freezing conditions. News reports focused on the agricultural damage to the citrus industry, but many homeowners woke up with frozen plumbing. Water damage restoration contractors were kept busy cleaning up after the flooding that occurred from burst pipes.

Regional building codes usually dictate how deeply water supply lines must be buried below the historical freeze/thaw line. Erratic weather patterns may result in snap freezes in some areas that don't traditionally freeze. Other areas that do freeze may have even colder temperatures. The permanent fix is to dig the pipes deeper, but that is expensive. If you have the plumbing line's path located in the ground, you may be able to cover the surface with a deep layer of mulch to help prevent the soil underneath from freezing to the level of the pipes. If an area of pipe has frozen over once there is a good chance it will happen again. To prevent a reoccurrence add heat and insulation or shut off and drain the plumbing when the temperature plummets. Of course if you have to drain the plumbing you won't have water, but shutting off and draining during cold snaps is better than bursting a pipe.

Frozen pipes are usually discovered first thing in the morning, when water is first used. If none of the taps provide water under pressure then the freeze point is located before it enters the structure. If only certain taps don't work the frozen pipe is located in some section of the distribution line.

Continue reading here: First Aid for Frozen Plumbing

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