Don’t Let Your Toilet Turn into an Ice Bowl: Why Keeping Your Plumbing Warm is Important
You may remember the holiday classic movie ‘A Christmas Story’ in which little Ralph’s friend Flick becomes stuck to an ice-coated pole requiring assistance from the fire brigade to free him. Now imagine having a little moisture on your backside (hey we are all human) and sitting on a frozen toilet unable to get up. As humorous as this may sound, toilets do freeze, as you will note in the provided photo. Now just imagine what the pipes leading from this toilet look like! You may not think frozen toilet pipes are a big deal, but when you are knee-deep in basement floodwater, you may change your mind as you are frantically calling a local water damage restoration company to come to the rescue.
Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?
When pipes freeze pressure occurs not at the point of freeze but at other locations in the pipe work. What results is cracking, and the consequences may be massive. In some cases a minor leak may start to form a pool of standing water that soaks into your wood causing rot. In other cases water can spray out like a high-pressure hose and flood the entire room. It is important to make sure your plumbing is up to code, as back in the days of old cheap plumbing was often used, or the wrong materials were used and some of those pipes are more prone to freezing than others.
How Can I Prevent my Pipes from Freezing?
When it comes to preventing pipe freeze, major water damage companies agree with The Weather Chanel when they say access from cold outdoor air will almost always cause a pipe freeze. If there are any holes for television or phone cables in the walls, outdoor air my be blowing in near your pipes. Make sure your pipes are in properly insulated areas to help keep the cold air away. Also, check the pipes for any moisture forming, as wet pipes will surely freeze easier than dry ones. You can also buy pipe insulation products at major hardware stores to help keep your plumbing toasty warm from the disastrous effects of cold air exposure.
What Should I do if my Pipes Freeze?
If you discover frozen pipes soak a towel in hot water and wrap it around your pipes, slowly thawing them out and be sure to place a bucket on the floor to catch thawed runoff water. If you want to take the less messy approach but one that is far more dangerous, you can use a propane torch as a heat source for thawing out your pipes. Just make sure it has a flame-spreader nozzle to expand the heat source. Just be careful not to catch the wall behind the pipe on fire. Another option if you want one ensuring the job gets done safely and correctly is to call an experienced plumbing company that is licensed, certified and bonded to perform water damage restoration services. This way you know the job will be done right, and you won’t risk sticking your freezing bum to your porcelain throne!