Call Pride Services at (516) 916-6894 for help with frozen pipes. Our plumbers are ready to provide emergency services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During the winter, many homeowners worry about the effects of cold weather on their plumbing. Frozen pipes are not only inconvenient and disrupt the water supply, but they can also lead to significant water damage if the pipes burst. One of the most common questions we hear from local homeowners is, “How long does it take for pipes to freeze?” usually followed by, “How can I prevent my pipes from freezing?”
Long Island is no stranger to cold weather. While buildings here have more insulation than those in the southern region of the U.S., there’s still a risk for frozen pipes when temperatures plummet. Knowing how long it takes for plumbing to freeze, the best ways to keep it from happening, and what to do when faced with frozen pipes can help prevent an expensive disaster.
Will the Pipes Freeze When the Heat Goes Out?
You may worry about your plumbing when the heat goes out due to a power outage or other reasons. However, losing heat does not automatically mean your pipes will freeze and burst.
The short answer to “how long does it take for pipes to freeze?” is about six hours. Yet, several factors can influence how long freezing takes, so you may have more or less time. For example, exposed pipes, such as uninsulated pipes in an unheated attic, will freeze sooner than insulated plumbing.
In most cases, the air surrounding the pipes must drop to 20 degrees or below — and remain there for six hours or longer — for the water inside the pipes to freeze. Cold air moving across the pipes can make them freeze sooner. For example, external pipes or pipes in poorly insulated exterior walls can start to freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
Preventing Frozen Pipes in Cold Weather
The best way to prevent frozen pipes is by insulating the plumbing, especially in areas that don’t generally get as warm, like the attic or exterior walls. A professional plumber can install foam insulation that can prevent burst pipes. Rerouting plumbing away from colder spots and uninsulated walls is another preventative measure.
Even if you have insulated pipes, you might wonder, “how long does it take for pipes to freeze?” when a cold snap causes frigid temperatures or a winter storm knocks out the power. You can take the following precautions to prevent frozen pipes and maintain adequate water pressure:
- Keep as much heat as possible inside. When it’s cold outside, avoid allowing cold air inside. Keep the garage door closed to prevent heat loss.
- Turn on the faucets. Keeping the tap open when temperatures drop below 20 degrees to allow a trickle of water can effectively prevent frozen pipes. Most water damage from frozen pipes occurs because the water in the lines freezes, increasing water pressure until the pipe bursts. Moving water is less likely to freeze.
- Maintain a consistent temperature. You might want to turn off the heat when you head out of town for a few days, but doing so increases the risk of frozen pipes. You can lower the thermostat a few degrees, but keep the heat to a consistent day and nighttime temperature to protect the plumbing.
- Turn off the water. If you’re on vacation, turning off the main water supply and draining the pipes can keep them from freezing. Turn off the main water supply and open the faucets to ensure there’s no water in the lines.
What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze
A hairdryer is the easiest and safest way to thaw the ice. Blow the heated air along the lines or into the faucets until the water starts to flow again.
Professional plumbers also have specialized electrical equipment to thaw pipes quickly. So if you learn “how long does it take for pipes to freeze?” the hard way, you can avoid burst pipes and water damage.
Call Pride Services for Help with Frozen Pipes
If you have frozen plumbing or want to learn why your pipes are knocking, call Pride Plumbing Services in Oceanside, NY at (516) 916-6894 for emergency assistance. Our professional plumbers can handle any plumbing issue and prevent widespread water damage.
Published: Jan 20, 2023