Causes of Frozen Sewer Lines

April 1, 2019 7:29 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

A frozen sewer line is not a terribly common occurrence, but when it does happen, the property owner will be inconvenienced until the problem is fixed. The main issue with water freezing inside sewer lines is that it expands, and this expansion can cause damage or result in your plumbing system failing to function at all. Frozen pipes are tricky in the sense that they may not burst right away. Instead, pressure builds as the water freezes and moves inside the pipe, and it’s the weakest point in the line that’ll go first.

Knowing how to handle a frozen sewer line in Colorado Springs, CO is one thing, but ideally you want to avoid this issue altogether. Below are the most common causes of sewer line freezing and how to prevent it from happening.

Top reasons and types of damage

Sewer lines and drain pipes burst when they freeze because pressure builds up behind the frozen water and it has nowhere to go. There may come a point when the expanding ice will burst through pipe walls to release the pressure. Professional plumbers want to inform homeowners of the most common reasons for sewer line freezing, including:

  • A lack of sewer pipe insulation, and poor pipe or line installation from the start or resulting from a failed repair attempt.
  • There’s no water flow in an exposed sewer drain pipe, and there’s a sudden drop in air temperature.
  • Your thermostat settings are off. Improper thermostat setting means insufficient heat inside the home or building.

Keep in mind that pipes are susceptible to freezing when temperatures drop to anything lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Sewer lines in typically warmer climates that are exposed to sudden freezing are put at risk, especially if the pipes aren’t insulated properly, whether they are on the inside or outside of the building.

It goes without saying that frozen and cracked sewer drain lines can cause damage to your property. Sewer lines that are exposed to cold air can freeze, so make sure your crawl spaces with vents are covered or sealed off if freezing temperatures are predicted.

How to prevent freezing

Preventing your sewer line from freezing is not hard when you know what needs protecting. But first, to avoid serious damage, you should consider filling cracks along outside walls with spray foam insulation and caulking. This can keep cold air from getting inside your basement, garage and the main living spaces of your home.

Once you have frozen pipes, or they burst, a plumbing professional must come in and make repairs. When there is still frozen water inside the lines, a plumber may use hot jetters, which is a very expensive service when used to clear things out of pipes. One of the most effective ways to prevent pipes from freezing is to insulate pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures and drafts, and particularly pipes that are installed in unheated areas. The thicker the insulation, the better—especially in areas where temperatures can drop below freezing.

Need help with a frozen sewer line in Colorado Springs, CO? Call Affordable Rooter for an appointment!

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