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As the weather cools across the country, frozen pipes in homes or businesses are a growing risk. Pipes can freeze, swell, and crack, leaving owners with costly flood damage.

Any pipe exposed to temperatures below 20°F for several hours runs the risk of freezing.

The biggest areas at risk are unheated areas, such as in the basement, attic, garage, or crawl spaces. Pipes running along exterior walls with insufficient insulation are also at risk of freezing during the winter.

A crack as small as 1/8-inch in a pipe can spray more than 250 gallons of water a day, causing expensive damage.

The average insurance claim for water damage from frozen pipes is about $10,000, according to estimates from State Farm Insurance. Also, depending on the policy terms, homeowner’s insurance may not cover the cost of repairing a burst pipe. It may pay only for the water damage.

What Are the Signs?

If a pipe is frozen, there is already about a 50% chance it has cracked. Call a professional immediately if you spot any of these signs:

  • A bulge or crack in a pipe with ice seeping out is a clear indication of a burst pipe.
  • Frost on the outside of a pipe.
  • A foul smell from the drain or faucet is a less-obvious warning sign. Odors are unable to filter out of the frozen pipe and instead are forced back into the home’s faucet.
  • No water or a slow trickle when a faucet is used.
  • Whistling and banging coming from pipes, or strange bubbling sounds when you flush a toilet.
  • Dampness, puddles, or rings on drywall or ceilings—signs of an urgent issue.
  • In some cases, the pipe may appear fine and a homeowner may not see any signs of small fractures caused by ice expansion.

When your pipes freeze, count on the emergency plumbing crew at Rooter Man. Contact us for burst & frozen pipe repair throughout the Greater New Orleans area.

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