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Pipes That Usually Freeze First

Flooded basement with floating toys

When pipes freeze, they create havoc that is time consuming and expensive.

Your Wisconsin home is full of all kinds of pipes, including fresh water pipes that supply your bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, and more. These fresh water pipes are under pressure, and if they freeze up, they can burst and create a huge mess that must be cleaned up quickly.

Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold?

You may have heard some say that hot water freezes faster than cold water. If you do a quick Google search, you will see all types of references to this topic. You may have also seen videos of people throwing hot water up in freezing air and it freezes instantly, creating ice crystals. No matter what you personally believe, one thing is accepted as true among many disaster restoration professionals: Hot water pipes freeze and break faster than cold water pipes.

This statement isn’t based simply on water temperature. It’s based on the makeup of the water, and some studies show that hot water contains more dissolved gasses, and those chemical particles crystalize first.

Many professionals will tell you that they have been on many water damage jobs where the hot water pipe was broken and spraying water, while the cold water pipe was fine.

At the same time, others have experienced hot water spigots doing nothing while the cold water spigot near it is working fine.

The Mpemba Effect

There are many articles about what is called the Mpemba Effect, that hot water freezes faster than cold water. While it makes for interesting reading, the main takeaway for you is to make sure that no pipes in your home ever freeze.

You can do this with some planning. The best solution is to make sure your pipes are wrapped with heat tape or insulation, combined with ensuring no cold drafts are allowed into walls or cavities in your home. Another preventive step to take is when the temperatures really dip into the sub-zero range, and especially if you have had pipes freeze in the past, consider allowing a faucet to drip during extended periods of non-use. Yes, this will run up your water bill a bit, but it is definitely cheaper than a devastating pipe break and resulting water damage.

But if the unthinkable does occur and a pipe breaks take these simple steps.

  1. Shut off your water main immediately
  2. Drain the faucets, cold taps firs, to reduce the chance of leftover water freezing in the pipes
  3. Shut off the water boiler and heating system, then release all the water from the hot taps
  4. Turn the heat back on
  5. Start documenting any damage to the building and any contents
  6. Contact your insurance company
  7. Call K-tech Restoration to manager your water damage cleanup!

Take preventative steps not and remember to call a pro!

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