How to tackle frozen water pipes - When the weather turns cold, frozen pipes are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Not only can they be expensive to replace if they burst, but they can cause serious damage to the floors, walls, ceilings and furniture of your home.
If you turn on your water faucet in the middle of winter and find that only a trickle of water comes out, or nothing at all, there’s a good chance your pipes are frozen. Look around for signs that the pipe has ruptured, such as water pouring out of the pipes or cracks. If there’s no such problem, you’re in luck. Your pipes are just frozen and need to be unthawed.
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How Do You Unfreeze Frozen Pipes?
It’s important to know that all your pipes may freeze at once or you may have one frozen pipe that is isolated from the rest. In either case, it’s important to unfreeze the pipes as quickly as possible to prevent them from rupturing. Here’s what to do:
Find the frozen portion of the pipe, which is usually in a place that is uninsulated. You can feel the pipe and most often determine where the freeze is.
Check which line (cold or hot) corresponds to the frozen area. If the cold line is frozen, open it up, if the hot line is, open it up. As the area unfreezes, this will release the pressure within the pipe.
Apply heat to the pipe. If there’s an electrical outlet nearby, use a hair dryer to melt it. You can also use a small heater or heat lamp. If there is no electrical outlet, boil some water and soak a few towels in it. Wrap the pipe with these towels. When the towels cool, repeat the process until the pipe is completely thawed.
Never use an open flame to heat a frozen pipe. This can result in an explosion and fire.
Unless you have the know-how yourself, it’s best to call a plumbing service, like our experts at Deluxe Plumbing and Heating, to help you with the burst pipe. The sooner the better, too, as a burst pipe can cause a lot of damage inside the house.
Soak up excess water with mops, towels, a bucket or a wet/dry vacuum. You want to prevent as much mold and mildew as possible.
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What Should I Do if the Pipes are Already Frozen?
Water expands when it freezes, so if you have weak metal pipes or plastic pipes, chances of them bursting are great, especially if the pipes aren’t insulated well. If a pipe bursts, whether inside or outside your home, you should first shut off the water and then cut off the electricity to the area where the pipe is burst.
To keep your pipes from freezing, make sure they are as warm as possible. Use electric heating tape, add extra insulation, keep the heat on - even when you’re away - and seal up any cracks or holes that might let in cold air. If the pipes are inside cabinets, open the doors so they can benefit from the heat in your home.