Professional plumbers busy with emergency calls after arctic blast

After intense freezing temperatures, the weather’s finally changing in Kansas City. Unfortunately, as the rising temperatures bring hope, they also bring about several problems with the plumbing system as ice begins to thaw and break pipelines.

Many local plumbing services across the region have reported increased emergency calls by residential and commercial customers. They also received a major complaint from Wichita’s Waste Connections Transfer Station, which had to cut off its water supply due to a broken pipe.

Most of the complaints they had received over the week were about frozen pipes and damage.


Low temperatures and your pipes


The company believes the week will be overwhelming as the number of issues is expected to rise. But after these problems are dealt with, the service will return to its routine.

The low temperatures are the main culprit behind these bursts and damaged pipelines and plumbing emergencies.

Water freezes inside the pipes as the temperatures go below the freezing point. As water turns to ice, it expands. Hence, frozen pipes burst during freezing or thawing when the ice melts and turns into water again.

Which pipes are most exposed?
The pipes in the most exposed places have higher chances of freezing. These include the following:

  • Supply lines around the pool
  • Water sprinkler pipe
  • Pipes around the building
  • Water supply lines in garages, attics, and basements

Prevention


There’s a need to adopt preventive strategies to avoid all such plumbing emergencies in the future. Since these plumbing emergencies can lead to high costs and cleanups, it’s important to be mindful of these tips and tricks to avoid future mishaps.

  • Keep the Water Running

    Keep your water running through the pipeline, even if it’s just a trickle. It keeps the water from freezing inside the pipelines and prevents pipes from bursting as they thaw..

  • Hire Plumbers for Inspections

    Make sure to conduct regular inspections of your pipelines. Hire professional plumbing service providers to check the pipelines. That way, you’ll be able to identify leaks and old pipelines in time to consider replacements and repairs.

    Professional plumbing companies also bring in various tools and equipment needed for inspecting bursts, broken pipes, or other causes of leaks.
    Even if things look under control and you only see a minor leak, there could be a lot going on inside.

  • Disconnect Your Garden Hose

    After using the garden hose to water the plants, make sure to disconnect and drain the hose properly. Then, shut the valve and completely drain the pipeline.
    The same goes for the sprinklers; drain the supply lines after use. You may also use faucet covers to keep your pipes safe and free of water.

  • Consider Insulation

    Insulation is an inexpensive measure to keep your homes and offices safe from pipeline bursts and frozen pipes during the cold, harsh winters. If you feel going all over the building with insulation is a huge project, just insulate the most exposed pipelines. These are the pipelines that are located in the basements, garage, attic, and crawl spaces.

    If the temperatures drop, the pipes under the sinks in the bathrooms and kitchens are at risk. So use foam insulation, newspapers, or wrap your pipes in heat tape.

  • Seal All Air Leaks

    Look for leaks, cracks, and openings near the pipes and seal them. This way, the cold air won’t come into your home, and the pipes will remain heated and protected. Check for openings around the windows and close them. Always keep the garage door closed unless in use.

    Moreover, any apparent leaks and broken parts in the pipelines need to be fixed without delay. If left alone, they may progress and lead to emergencies.

  • Keep your Doors and Cabinets Open

    Make sure to keep your cabinets, and other doors open so the warm air inside the house can be circulated. Open all kitchen and bedroom cabinets so the heat is uniformly distributed.

  • Maintain Consistent Temperature

    Set your thermostat to one temperature to provide a consistent running temperature inside your home. The temperature should be the same during the day and night and even while you are away. Keeping temperatures steady keeps pipes from freezing.

    The ideal temperature to set your thermostat when you’re away is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Set up Fans

    You can also set up fans inside the home to circulate warm air to other colder rooms. That will protect the pipelines under the sink and inside the walls from freezing.

How to handle frozen pipes

Now, if your pipes get frozen despite your attempts, here are steps you should follow:

  • Turn on the water faucet. If only a few drops or a thin trickle flows out, there’s a blockage, and your pipes are likely frozen.
  • Next, inspect the pipes and surrounding area for cracks and breakage.
  • Turn off the main valve or water supply if you locate big cracks or a broken pipeline upon physical inspection.
  • Call the nearest plumbing service for help.
  • If the pipe looks fine, turn on the water to allow it to pass through. As it passes through the ice, it melts, allowing the flow to resume.
  • You may use a hair dryer, heating pad, or warm towels to apply heat to the frozen parts of the pipe.

Never try attempting to unfreeze the pipes using a flame. Never use a blow torch, propane, or kerosene heater or stove near the pipes. Using a flame near the pipes is a dangerous technique.



Precautions when leaving on vacation


Before you pack your bags and leave over the holidays, here are a few tips to keep your house safe while you’re gone and prevent frozen pipes.


  • Leave on the thermostat.
  • Ask a neighbor, family member, or friend to keep a check on the house while you are away.
  • Shut off the drains and water supply before you go.

Protect your pipes with Key Valley Plumbers


Invest in the insulation of pipes, particularly those in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces. The project costs little but can prevent future losses and costly plumbing emergencies.
Insulation works by containing heat to keep pipes from freezing.

However, if you notice broken pipes, frozen pipes, or another plumbing emergency, call Key Valley Plumbers immediately. Our expert plumbers arrive quickly and will help restore the damage.