Avoiding Frozen and Cracked Pipes in Florida
Living along the Gulf Coast in the Florida, we are fortunate to have some of the best weather in the country where mild winters are the norm. However, we do occasionally dip into freezing temperatures. While these episodes don’t usually last long, they can lead to frozen and cracked pipes, which can quickly turn into a disaster for you and your family.
Frozen and Cracked Pipes CAN Happen in Florida
The average Floridian has hurricane boxes packed and ready, bottles of sunscreen stashed in every vehicle, and know the best way to deal with alligators in the road or opossums in the trashcan. But because freezing temperatures are so rare here, Florida homeowners don’t usually worry about about plumbing issues caused by cold weather.
Our neighbors to the north are more accustomed to these problems, and often follow a yearly checklist to limit the chances of a disaster. We Southerners could learn a thing or two from these lists to protect our homes and businesses. Here are a few things you can do on your own to limit the chances of a flood caused by frozen and cracked pipes:
Inspect your Pipes
One of the simplest things you can do is also one of the most effective: look at your pipes! Has the turf around your sprinkler system worn thin? Have critters eaten away at the insulation around your pipes? Simply laying eyes on the exposed parts of your plumbing system can tell you a lot about its condition and alert you to problems that should be addressed by a professional.
Keep Air Flowing
Plumbing supply lines usually enter a house through an exterior wall, typically in the kitchen or bathroom. The closed-off spaces under counters or inside cabinets that hide these pipes can be significantly colder than the rest of your home. By opening up cabinets and allowing warm air to circulate, you can increase the temperature of the pipes by a few critical degrees and prevent frozen and cracked pipes.
Let it Drip
For outdoor supply lines that cannot be shut off and drained, a good solution is to turn on one or two faucets so there is a slow, steady drip from the fixture. By allowing a slight flow of water through the pipes, you can prevent ice from forming.
It Happened, What Now?
If the unthinkable has happened and you have frozen and cracked pipes, there are some very specific steps you should take to minimize the impact on your home:
Stop the flow: At the first sign of frozen and cracked pipes, you should turn off the water supply. Some homeowners have access to valves that will allow you to turn off the flow of water to specific areas. If you don’t have these valves, or don’t know how to access them, use your main shut-off valve and stop all water from flowing.
Escarosa Cleaning and Restoration Pro Tip: Know where your shut-off valve is located BEFORE disaster strikes! There is nothing worse then hunting for a buried valve while your home is filling with water. In Escambia County, the ECUA can help you identify the location of your main shut-off valve.
Remove the water: Depending on where the break has occurred, you may see very obvious signs of a flood or only notice a drop in your home’s normal water pressure. Either way, the most important thing to do is remove the water and do everything you can to help the drying process. Even in the colder winter months, wet wood and drywall set the stage for mold to start growing in the dark spaces inside walls and behind appliances.
To make sure all of the moisture in your home is removed, call the experts at Escarosa Cleaning and Restoration. Our certified technicians are trained in the use of extraction, air movement, and dehumidification equipment that can effectively remove the moisture before it leads to further damage.
Even after all visible water is cleaned up, leaks from frozen and cracked pipes in walls or crawlspaces may leave moisture in hidden areas. That’s why the professionals at Escarosa Cleaning and Restoration use advanced diagnostic equipment to test for any hidden moisture. Rest assured that we will find any remaining water and take the necessary steps to eliminate it from your home.