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Lookout for pipe damage in extreme cold - especially if your house has "Big Blue"

Frozen Pipe with Icicles

For the last few days, the United States has been plagued by what is known as a "polar vortex," which is setting record-low temperatures across the country. This cold snap is disrupting life all over, but it has been particularly harsh on the East Coast and the Midwestern states, where temperatures have gone as low as -50 degrees. Countless flights have been delayed or canceled, schools have shut down and the extreme weather conditions have been the cause of as many as 20 deaths.

These frigid conditions are also a cause for concern for many homeowners, as intense cold can do significant damage to piping systems in a home, no matter how well insulated and protected they might be. Even when the weather finally begins to warm up, homeowners should be on the lookout for pipes that burst because a lot of damage will not be apparent until the weather is above freezing, as that is when water will begin to flow normally again.

Homeowners that have polybutylene (PB) pipes, also known as "big blue" pipes, should especially be aware of these dangers. PB pipes have been problematic for many different reasons over the past couple of decades because the plastic material they are made of is highly corrosive and is prone to freezing easily. Worst of all for Virginia residents, PB pipes were used extensively in the Mid Atlantic states by contractors in the 1970s, though they were finally banned in the US in 1995. Over 10 million properties had PB pipes installed over this 20 year period, and many homeowners remain unaware of the problems they create until the damage has been done.

Any Arlington, Virginia plumber is well aware of the dangers of PB pipes and the havoc cold can wreak on all piping systems, so have your home inspected today by John C. Flood.