How Freezing Pipes Can Damage Your Foundation

By:    |   Published January 27, 2016
rusty burst pipe squirting water | EverDry Toledo

Remember last year’s polar vortex? Thanks to El Nino, this season’s mild winter has made the arctic blasts we’ve endured the past few years a distant, frigid memory. But that doesn’t mean you should become complacent about the possibility of foundation damage from frozen pipes. Even when your pipes are completely frozen, you should still be concerned. A freeze-thaw cycle – like the ones we’ve been experiencing all season – can take its toll on your home and can lead to expensive plumbing and foundation repairs.

Your home’s foundation is one of the most important features and should ideally last a lifetime. In most cases, foundations are built to withstand normal freezing temperatures with only a bit of flaking or cracking to show for it. But when freezing temperatures cause your pipes to leak, over even worse, burst, that’s a game changer – one which can cause permanent damage to your foundation and possibly endanger the structural integrity of your house.

Of course, not all your plumbing is at risk from freezing (unless the house loses significant heat). The pipes which are most likely to cause foundation damage are the ones exposed to the elements, including those:

  • Directly exposed to outside temperatures, such as external sinks and washrooms.
  • Indirectly exposed to outside temperatures, like those in unprotected crawlspaces under your home.
  • Attached to exterior faucets that are not properly turned off during the wintertime. 

Prevent Foundation Damage from Frozen Pipes

An ounce of prevention can save you a fortune in foundation repairs.

Fortunately, there are some easy and inexpensive steps you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing. Most of these can be done any time of year, but if you include these steps when winterizing your home, you’ll save the discomfort and panic of trying to do them when the temperatures dips below the comfort zone.

  • Shut off all exposed water pipes during the wintertime when you’re not using them. Shut them off tightly, and look for any leakage in the fittings around the faucet handle. Use a wrench to make sure the fittings are snug.
  • Seal any leaks around pipes that enter your home to prevent cold air from seeping in. You can find plenty of information about techniques and products from reputable sources online.
  • Insulate pipes in crawl space, attics, and outer walls. You can find these products online or at your local home improvement store.
  • Make sure your home’s core temperature doesn’t fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit – even when you’re not around. You can also purchase a home monitoring system that sends you an alert when the temperature drops.

4 Basement Waterproofing Options Info Graphic

Call Team EverDry

You can’t control every situation, but you can call Team EverDry!

Despite your best efforts, sometimes disaster strikes. If you’ve experienced basement flooding and need your foundation fixed, Team EverDry is just a call away. Schedule a free 20-point inspection or give us a call (419) 841-6055 to make this a leak-free, worry-free winter.

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