If you’ve ever had frozen drains in your home, then you know what an expensive inconvenience they can be. And here in Muskegon, Grand Haven, Whitehall, Holland, Coopersville, Allendale and Twin Lake we are hardly unfamiliar with the subzero temperatures that can cause drains to freeze. The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies here; even the smallest crack in a pipe can flood your home with 250 gallons of water per day. So if you live in West Michigan, take a moment to review the checklist below and make sure your drains are safe from the cold this winter.
Because properly installed drain pipes do not have water standing in them and are usually connected to a septic system that generates sewer gas, drain pipes need less external protection than water supply pipes. But they can freeze. If they do, they can create great inconvenience.
To prevent drain freeze-up, do not let water drip into the drains. Slow-moving and small quantities of water freeze when coming in contact with very cold sections of a drain system. As additional slow dripping runoff reaches that point, it freezes on top; the pipe will eventually be blocked by this glacier within. Water that dams up behind the glacier will also freeze, causing a very big problem. Enclosing and insulating the area under the house where drain pipes are located is highly recommended. Have West Michigan Septic Sewer and Drain Service inspect your home and insulate pipes to prevent freezing and other issues.
Heat tapes work well on drain pipes if installed, thermostatically regulated tapes save electricity because they automatically turn on and off depending on the temperature. Putting on heat tapes, even after the pipes are frozen, can help thaw the pipes if the block is above ground. The first elbow under the soil is a probable freeze point, especially for slow-moving drain water. To thaw the area, excavate as much dirt as possible around the vertical or sloping pipe. An alternative is to pour plenty of hot water over the section of the excavated pipe. Any area where vehicular traffic passes over the ground above a buried pipe is another point susceptible to freezing. The earth is compacted, allowing greater penetration of the cold in that area. Sometimes the compacted soil above the pipe causes the pipe to sink a bit. The area sags collects water and freezes. If all else fails, a frozen drain system can be thawed with a steam hose from a steam cleaner or other boiler. Remove the clean-out plug and insert the steam hose. It can be messy, especially under a house. Consider digging a sump hole near the clean-out plug so that overflow has a low place to go and that you won’t be lying in while directing the steam hose.
The best way to deal with frozen pipes is to prevent them in the first place. Homeowners, don’t forget the pipes at your work locations! If your pipes do freeze, or for preventative measures, check out West Michigan Septic Sewer and Drain Service, committed to providing you with exceptional service, the highest quality products, and results that will stand the test of time. We offer a complete line of services from drain cleaning to sewer line installation and everything in between. Our professional technicians can cover all your needs for sewer systems, septic systems, and excavation. Call us at Muskegon: 231-739-7423, Grand Haven: 616-847-1072, Whitehall: 231-893-4252, Holland: 616-392-8988, Coopersville: 616-837-1800, Allendale: 616-895-9080, Twin Lake: 231-828-5595 or you can also check our website, just click here.
Stay warm in winter!