While we are all busy observing the winter wonderland and running the course of our lives, we often don't stop to realize how the winter months can affect our plumbing in climates where temperatures drop below freezing in winter months. The majority of us have not custom built our homes and therefore upon purchase of our residences we're not necessarily savvy enough to think of checking exactly how the domestic piping has been installed. Until such times comes as we experience what we in the industry affectionately call a "freeze up". (No, not the type that prevents your computer from working, but rather a plumbing "freeze up" where the water circulating through piping actually freezes in the process of traveling from the origination source to the end source, your faucet. And, how would you know that? Well, in many cases you wouldn't.
It's a cold winter night and you attempt to draw some water from your kitchen, laundry room or bathroom. What?! No Water? How can that be? So, you look for the shutoff valve, if indeed one is installed on the water line to that faucet, and confirm that it is not closed. You find that the shutoff valve is in the open position, yet still, there is no water! Tracing the line, assuming you can figure out how it was run albeit behind closed walls, or with the help of an expert plumbing professional, you follow the line down towards the main water supply in the basement and determine that this line is run through an outside wall. Aha! So, that explains it, right? To bring a swift resolution to your confusion, yes, the water line was run through an outside wall as it was likely the most direct way to reach the fixture, but there is a strong possibility that the line was not adequately insulated. When wind or frigid cold weather prevails, the water in the line can freeze. As the winter months progress, perhaps on a warmer day, or when we reach spring and more moderate temperatures, the water in the pipe thaws. Often during this process it expands...and therein lies the problem. You might not know it, but often the pressure inside the pipe may build up and the fact that the faucet at the other end of the pipe is "closed", the result could in fact be that somewhere en route to the faucet, the pipe will split or burst resulting in water leaking from the line at the break...often inside the wall. You may a rushing sound of water near the meter or perhaps inside the wall, and still won't be able to draw any water to your faucet.
How do you prevent this? Glad you asked!
Ask us about some of these solutions!
Do not fear....spring follows winter each and every year! Stay Warm!
For more information and helpful tips and hints for New Jersey home and business owners, visit our blog at https://www.bornsteinsons.com/blog.
Written by Bonnie Bornstein Fertel
Bornstein Sons, Inc. Serving NJ since 1928
Site Design Bonnie Bornstein Fertel Bonnie B, LLC