Winter is upon us again in Utah County and along the Wasatch Front, and with snow coming early this year you may have had some pipes, faucets and hose bibs freeze on you already.

With night temperatures dropping to single digits, one concern for Utah County homeowners is frozen water pipes in unheated basements and crawl spaces of homes like Provo and Orem in places where the water table may be higher.

Utah,County Annual Weather
Annual high temperature: 66.2°F
Annual low temperature: 40.7°F
Average temperature: 53.45°F
Average annual precipitation – rainfall: 19.77 inch
Av. annual snowfall: 58 inch
Climate data for provo byu, Longitude: -111.651, Latitude: 40.2458
Average weather Provo, UT – 84601 – 1981-2010 normals

 

 

The American Red Cross suggests tips on how to prevent freezing and what to do if pipes do freeze.

 

Water Expands 9%-10% When it Freezes

Water rebels. Instead of getting smaller when it freezes like normal substances, water is a bit of a rebel and is an exception to this rule. Even though water does expand when heated and contract when cooled at most temperatures, water expands when cooled and contracts when heated between 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit and 32 degrees Fahrenheit. (The International Association for the Properties of Water and Stream, iapws.org)

Which Pipes & Hose Bibs Freeze the Most?

As far as Utah County’s homes hose bibs, faucets and pipes are concerned, when water expands it puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including copper, PEX or PVC pipes. No matter the material of the pipe, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze the most in Utah County are those that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation obviously will have a higher chance of freezing.

 

Pre-Winter Prevention of Frozen Pipes in Utah County

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from your swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines in Utah County following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes,even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

Intra-Winter Prevention for Frozen Hose Bibs and Pipes in Utah

  • Keep garage doors closed as many Utah County homes have the water supply lines in the garage prix du viagra en pharmacie.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. I know a lot of Utah County families have been told to save energy by adjusting these settings for saving energy, but if you have a potential frozen hose bib or pipe this could save you a lot of energy in the long run. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be leaving Utah during the winter or during the cold weather of late fall or early spring, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

Too Late, They’re Frozen; How To Thaw Frozen Hose Bibs & Pipes in Utah

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Most common places for Utah homeowners to have frozen pipes are against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation. If you live close to Utah lake then you may have a high water table and this could affect the depth of your pipes.
  • Keep the faucet on. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

If you can not thaw the pipe feel free to Call or Text me 801-784-7379, and I am happy to help you out, even if you plan on doing the work yourself.

 

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