How Long Does it Take for Pipes to Freeze?


When temperatures begin to drop, it’s important to take precautions to protect your home and property. One of the most common problems during colder weather is frozen pipes. If you’re not sure how long it takes for pipes to freeze, or what you can do to prevent them from freezing, read on. The expert staff at White’s Plumbing LLC provides tips on how to keep your pipes from freezing, as well as information on what to do if they do freeze.

Can Pipes Freeze Before Winter?

Pipes can freeze at any time when the temperature outside drops below freezing. When water freezes, it expands and this can cause the pipes to burst. This is a serious problem because not only does it lead to expensive repairs, but it can also cause extensive damage to your home.  A pipe that freezes once is more likely to freeze again, so it’s important to take measures to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. 

To prevent pipes from freezing, it is important to keep the inside of your home warm, to insulate any exposed pipes, and to seal any gaps or cracks that could allow cold air to enter. If you know that a cold snap is coming, you can take additional measures to protect your pipes, such as opening cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to reach the pipes or running a trickle of water from a faucet served by the vulnerable pipe. Also, be sure to keep the heat on in your home, even when you are away, and set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. By taking these precautions, you can help to ensure that your pipes will stay safely thawed all winter long.

Will a Frozen Pipe Burst?

When water freezes, it expands. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including pipes. Pipes are designed to withstand a certain amount of pressure, but when water freezes inside them, that pressure can increase dramatically. As a result, pipes may rupture or burst when they freeze. This is most likely to happen when pipes are located in unheated areas, such as basements or crawl spaces. However, it can also occur if pipes are improperly insulated. When water freezes in pipes, it expands and puts pressure on the pipes from the inside. If the pressure is too great, the pipes will eventually burst. 

Pipes made of materials like copper or brass have a relatively low risk of bursting when they freeze because these metals are strong and ductile. This means they can deform under pressure without breaking. However, pipes made of more brittle materials like cast iron or galvanized steel are at a greater risk of bursting when they freeze because these materials are less able to deform without breaking. In addition, pipes that are particularly thin or have small diameters are also more likely to burst when they freeze because they cannot withstand as much pressure. When water in a pipe freezes, it is important to thaw the pipe as soon as possible to reduce the risk of the pipe bursting.

How Long Does it Take For Pipes to Freeze?

main drain signsEvery year, homeowners across the country face the problem of frozen pipes. Pipes can freeze for a number of reasons, including exposure to cold outdoor temperatures and drafts from open windows. pipes can also freeze if the water pressure in your home is too low. While frozen pipes are often a nuisance, they can also lead to serious damage if they burst. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when the outside temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and there is little or no wind. Under these conditions, it can take as little as two hours for pipes to freeze.  On average, unless under extreme conditions, it will typically take your pipes just six to eight hours to freeze if left unprotected.  This means, if they are unprotected even just overnight, they run the risk of freezing. 

The amount of time it takes for pipes to freeze depends on several factors, such as the type of pipes, the thickness of the pipes, and the amount of water flowing through the pipes. Metal pipes are more likely to freeze than plastic pipes, and thin pipes are more likely to freeze than thick pipes. Additionally, pipes that have a lot of water flowing through them are less likely to freeze than pipes with little or no water flowing through them. If you think your pipes may be in danger of freezing, it’s important to take action immediately. Some signs that your pipes may be frozen include frost on the pipes, slow water flow, and strange noises coming from the pipes. If you suspect your pipes are frozen, you should call a plumber right away.

How to Unfreeze Your Pipes

wake forest plumbing repairIf your pipes do freeze, it’s important to take the proper steps to thaw them out and prevent them from freezing again. Don’t try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame; this could result in a fire. First, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. This will help prevent pipes from bursting when they thaw. Next, locate the frozen pipes and apply heat to them.  You can use a space heater or hair dryer to slowly heat the pipe until the ice inside melts. You can also apply heat indirectly by wrapping towels soaked in hot water around the pipe. Once the pipes have thawed, turn on the water at the main shutoff valve and check for leaks. This will also help to push any remaining ice out of the pipes.  If you find any leaks, call a plumber to make repairs.

Taking these steps can help you deal with frozen pipes and minimize the risk of damage to your home.

White’s Plumbing LLC Can Help Thaw Your Pipes

Frozen pipes can be a major inconvenience and cause extensive water damage in your home. If you are concerned that your pipes may freeze or have already frozen, don’t hesitate to contact White’s Plumbing LLC. With over 45 years of experience, our team of experts will help you get your plumbing back up and running as quickly as possible.

Contact White's Plumbing

Request A Service Call

We’ll get in touch with you as soon as we can!