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Ann Arbor Winter Blues: How to Avoid Frozen Pipes and Costly Repairs

Ann Arbor Winter Blues: How to Avoid Frozen Pipes and Costly Repairs

Ann Arbor, known for its harsh and cold winters, presents unique challenges to homeowners, particularly regarding the risk of frozen pipes. The city’s winter climate is characterized by freezing temperatures that often drop below zero. These extreme conditions can cause water in pipes to freeze, leading to blockages and potentially disastrous pipe bursts. Understanding the threat posed by frozen pipes is paramount for residents of Ann Arbor, as it is the first step to avoiding costly repairs and ensuring a warm, worry-free winter season.

How and Why Pipes Freeze

The Science Behind Freezing Pipes

The phenomenon of freezing pipes is based on fundamental physics. Water, like most substances, expands when it freezes. This expansion places immense pressure on the confines of the pipe, regardless of the material – metal or plastic. If the pressure becomes too great, it can cause the pipe to burst, leading to water damage once the ice thaws.

Effects of Frozen Pipes

The impact of frozen pipes can be devastating, both financially and structurally. Regarding structural damage, water from burst pipes can cause flooding, leading to potential foundation issues and mold growth. Financially, the cost of repairs and water damage remediation can run into the thousands. 

Identifying Frozen Pipes

Identifying frozen pipes early can help mitigate damage. Some signs include reduced water flow or complete stoppage, strange smells from the faucet or drain, and visible frost on pipes. In extreme cold conditions, it’s advisable to routinely check your pipes for these signs to prevent any sudden and costly issues.

Preventive Measures Against Frozen Pipes

What to Do If You Have Frozen Pipes in Ann Arbor Michigan


Proper insulation is one of the most effective ways to prevent frozen pipes. Insulate all accessible pipes, especially those in unheated areas like basements, garages, and crawl spaces. Foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves can provide adequate insulation and are readily available at most home improvement stores.

Heating and Thermostat Settings

Maintaining a consistent, warm temperature in your home can help prevent freezing in pipes. During freezing spells, consider increasing your home’s thermostat setting slightly. Avoid setting the thermostat below 55°F, even if you’re going away for an extended period.

Pipe Maintenance and Upgrades

Regular maintenance and timely upgrades can significantly reduce the risk of pipes freezing. Have your plumbing system checked by a professional plumber before winter sets in. They can identify any potential weak spots and suggest necessary upgrades. Consider replacing old, worn-out pipes with newer ones designed to withstand freezing temperatures, such as those made of PEX.

Thawing Frozen Pipes Safely

If you identify a pipe that has frozen, there are measures you can take to thaw it out safely. Begin by opening the faucet that the pipe feeds to relieve any pressure and allow the water to escape once it begins to thaw. Using a hairdryer, heat lamp, or portable space heater, apply heat to the frozen pipe section. Start from the pipe section closest to the faucet and then move toward the coldest section. Never use an open flame to thaw a pipe, as it is a fire hazard.

When to Call a Plumber

While some frozen pipes can be dealt with at home, knowing when to call a professional is crucial. If you cannot locate the frozen section, if the frozen section is not accessible, or if your attempts to thaw the pipe have not been successful, it’s time to call a plumber. If a pipe has burst, immediately shut off the water at the main shutoff valve and immediately call a professional plumber. Delaying professional intervention in these circumstances can lead to severe water damage.

Don’t Delay, Call A2 Plumbers Today!

When winter hits Ann Arbor, and you are faced with the threatening prospect of frozen pipes, don’t risk costly damage by attempting to handle it on your own. A2 Plumbers are your local experts in dealing with the challenges presented by our harsh winters. We’re ready to step in, diagnose problems accurately, fix any issues efficiently, and help safeguard your home against future freeze threats. Don’t wait for the problem to escalate! Call us at (734) 291-0258 to ensure a warm, worry-free winter season in your Ann Arbor home.

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