Leaking pipes are usually caused by material failures. A pipe could be damaged, threads could be stripped or the pipe could simply be old. A slow drip could cost you thousands of dollars over time and cause serious damage to your home.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, material failure accounts for $4,296 in water loss on average. Worse still, prolonged dampness and standing water can cause nearby wood to rot, and if neglected long enough, could cause a collapse. The financial burden of repairing or replacing a rotten wood structure is massive—time is of the essence. Luckily, they are rather easy to fix. Simply locate and replace the leaking section of the pipe. When you install the new section of the pipe, use Teflon tape on the threads to ensure a long lasting seal.
If you turn on a faucet and only see a trickle, a frozen pipe could be to blame. This is common in pipes that run outside or along exterior walls. A frozen pipe is much more than an inconvenience. It’s a slow time bomb that could cost you thousands.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, frozen pipes account for 18% of all plumbing failures, but on average, they account for $8,189 in water loss. As pressure builds, the pipe could crack or burst, damaging nearby pipes and spewing forth pressurized water which could cause serious damage to your home. That much water could not only cause rot, but when it refreezes in the wood, it will expand and cause cracks, weakening the structural integrity of your home.
When you thaw the pipe, leave the faucet open. Running water will help ice melt. Apply heat with a towel soaked in warm water, a hair dryer or a portable space heater. Do not use a blow torch, kerosene or propane heater to thaw frozen pipes. These are a serious fire hazard and need proper ventilation. To prevent freezing pipes, run water at a slight trickle—even just a drip. Running water does not freeze as easily. You can also maintain the same temperature in your home 24/7. You might incur a larger heating bill, but it will be nothing compared to the costly repair of a burst pipe.