November 1st, 2018, Minneapolis, Minnesota:
- Frozen pipes are one of the leading sources of property damage when the temperature drops.
- Frozen water exerts 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on a pipe.
- Just a 1/8-inch crack in a frozen pipe can spew hundreds of gallons of water an hour, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.
In case you need a science refresher, water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal and plastic pipes. Simply put, no matter the strength of a pipe, expanding water can cause pipes to crack or break. This puts your sprinkler systems and plumbing systems in jeopardy and in danger of failing in case of fire.
DEEP FREEZE AT 20 DEGREES
The rule of thumb is that an outside temperature of 20 degrees or lower can cause pipes to freeze. Pipes exposed to cold air (especially flowing air, as on a windy day) because of cracks in an outside wall or lack of insulation are particularly vulnerable to freezing at temperatures even above the 20-degree threshold. Pipes can freeze overnight. Worse yet, in extreme cold, they can freeze in just minutes.
So what happens when pipes freeze?
- Cracks emerge as ice expands to fill this void.
- The water won’t come through and the system gets backed up.
- After the arctic air leaves and temperatures start to rise, ice contracts.
- As the warmer air fills the pipe the water starts to flow, bursting through the cracks, and WHOOSH—you have an expensive mess.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION ...
- Check the system before cold weather sets in, and frequently during extreme cold snaps.
- Check air pressure in the dry system. if the Air pressure rises to the water pressure, and if they are equal there is danger of the pipes bursting as your dry system has tripped.
- Frost is a sure sign the water may have frozen and compromised the system. If you see frost (or breaks), call Brothers Fire & Security ASAP and we’ll tell you how to shut down the system. We’ll fix the issue before there’s pipe and water damage.
Winter doesn’t have to freeze—or flood—you out. Keep an eye on the pipes, and put Brothers Fire & Security on speed dial – 800-607-2767. We’re here when you need us and to us, you’re family!
ABOUT BROTHERS FIRE & SECURITY
As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.