Residents of Kingwood, Texas never thought they would need to know what to check after a freeze, but that is exactly what they faced in February 2021 when the area experienced temperatures well below twenty degrees for the first time in decades. To reach such temperatures seemed unimaginable. Many structures and homes had pipes burst and other related plumbing problems that put plumbers in a higher demand than usual.
While you cannot control Mother Nature, you can be proactive in learning what to check for after a freeze to hopefully hinder further freeze-related damage and save money by stopping a bad situation before it gets worse.
What to Check After a Freeze
Knowing how to prepare ahead of a freeze can be critical in protecting your home or business, but if it is a hard freeze in an area like Kingwood that seldom experiences such extreme temperatures for extended periods of time, that alone may not be enough. By knowing what to check after a freeze, it may be possible to stop a bad situation before it gets worse. After a freeze, building and homeowners should check:
Although most attics should be properly insulated to help keep the cold out in winter months, intense freezing air may still be able to creep in, and that can cause pipes to freeze. If it is safe to do so, make your way to the attic to look for evidence of leaks, and upon finding one it may be a good idea to turn off the water to the house to limit the amount of damage done when a pipe begins to thaw out.
Sprinklers have components that work together both above and below ground. If water is spotted spewing from a sprinkler head, it likely indicates cracked equipment on or near the surface. However, underground pipe breakages may be less obvious as it takes time to create a slow growing wet spot around a sprinkler.
Water Pooling Around House Foundation
If water is spotted pooling around the house foundation it generally signals that one or more pipes underneath the home are leaking or have burst.
Pools are generally meant for warmer weather, and that can spell trouble in a lengthy hard freeze. To see if a pool pump is frozen it can be a good idea to remove the filtration cover and basket to look for the presence of frozen water.
Warning Signs Following a Freeze
With many natural disasters, signs of distress show immediately, such as with an earthquake or fire. However, freezes can be unique in that signs of a problem may not show immediately. When temperatures sink well under freezing for a longer period of time, the water freezes, making some problems less noticeable until temperatures rise and the thaw begins.
Some warning signs to look for following a freeze include:
- Clanging noises. If you are lying in bed in the still of the early morning and hear a brief but loud clanging noise, do not be quick to dismiss it. It could very well be the sound of a pipe bursting. Because the water is often frozen in the pipe when it bursts, there is not typically a gush of water until later, when the ice begins to melt.
- Toilets not refilling with water. Toilets that flush but do not refill may also be a warning sign of a bigger problem such as frozen pipes.
- Hot or cold water taps not working. Even if you leave both your hot and cold water taps dripping overnight to help the water keep moving through the pipes during a freeze, it is critical to try them periodically to make sure water is still flowing freely. If it is not, you likely have one or more frozen pipes.
- Sudden sounds of rushing water. The sound of rushing water inside a home is never a good thing if it is not coming from the shower or bath, but it could be what some people hear coming from the ceiling or behind a wall when a frozen and busted pipe begins to thaw.
- Water gushing out from the ceiling or floorboards. Following the rushing sound of water after a freeze, it is not uncommon to see water suddenly gushing out of the ceiling or floorboards. This typically indicates that a frozen pipe did indeed burst.
The Next Step Is to Find a Reputable Plumber…and Fast
Finding these problems is an important part of protecting a structure from further damage after a freeze, but the next step is to find and make an appointment with a trusted plumber as quickly as possible. Especially when a freeze occurs in a primarily hot climate like what is found in Kingwood, an extended hard freeze can affect an entire neighborhood simultaneously, and not in a good way.
In cases like these, plumbers will be in high demand. For this reason, it is critical to get on the schedule of a reputable plumber as quickly as possible. This generally speeds up their arrival to your home or place of business and ensures they will still have the right parts available to fix what needs to be fixed in a timely manner.
Whether you live in an area that regularly experiences freezes or one that seldom experiences below freezing temperatures, it is important to know what to check after a freeze and call a reputable professional plumber in Kingwood for help.