As temperatures drop your risk of a frozen pipe increases. Learn how to prevent and unthaw frozen pipes
Winter means heavy ice, cold weather, and sweeping wind. Winter may cause costly damage including freezing pipes. Typical high-risk zones for freezing include exterior pipes and piles in exterior walls and unheated pipes in unheated areas such as a garage or basement.
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The Insurance Information Institute says that water damage and freezing claims make up almost a third of homeowners’ coverage. Keep your family safe from unnecessary hardships and expenses when preparing for an emergency with freezing pipes.
Locating the Frozen Water Pipe
The frozen pipe is sometimes seen when the taps have opened or exploded. The pipes are blocked in the pipes when the temperature of ice falls or when it is not clear. It must happen immediately. Shut off the water to the faucet locally or through the shutoff valve.
Make a faucet from the frozen pipe even if there is no blockage. Location of blocked pipes. Follow the pipe out of the tap until it enters cold areas like outside walls and unheated crawlspaces.
Signs of frozen water pipes
Is there little water in your fridge? Lack of running water is the most common sign when plumbing pipes freeze. Flowing pipes: As the water freezes, water molecules grow and cause massive forces, which can increase the size of water pipes. When pipes start to “talk” or make noises like bangs and grunts, this could indicate the ice is moving in their pipes. Condensation cracks: The pipes may be frozen.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe?
The real trouble begins at the moment when the pipes are shut. The water may act as plugs and prevent water from getting into the pipe. Once the plug has been frozen, it releases water into the water system. You can get a mop bucket with your towels for any water problems or leaky pipes. Frozen pipes don’t make plumbers calls, he added. “Thawing pipes can leak after an extremely cold period if water and ice have accumulated inside them, causing burst pipes.”
Often it’s a difficult job to simply locate a frozen pipe. It’s easy to open every faucet in your house. If water doesn’t reach one faucet, follow that water line when you leave that fixture. Every few feet, inspect the pipe and pipes by holding your hands (frozen pipes actually feel like freezing cold) and then continue to locate the affected areas. When your faucet does not receive the required amount of water you can likely have an aqueduct.
– Use space heaters, heating lamps, or hair dryers to thaw the frozen pipe.
– Pour hot water over the frozen section of the pipe.
– Apply a heat lamp to the outside of the pipe.
– Get a bucket and place towels around the frozen section of the pipe before pouring boiling water over it.
– Use a blow dryer on its highest setting to blow hot air onto the frozen section of pipe.
– Use a hairdryer on the frozen section of pipe.
– Use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp to thaw the frozen pipe.
– Use a portable heater to thaw the frozen pipe.
– Wrapping the frozen pipe with towels soaked in hot water.
– Place a heating pad on the pipe, plug it in, turn it to high, and wait for the heat to penetrate.
– Apply electrical heat tape to the outside of the pipe.
You can also use a propane torch to thaw a frozen pipe, but if you’re uncomfortable using one, please call a professional plumber.
If the above methods do not work or if you cannot locate the frozen section of pipe, please call a professional plumber.
How to prevent frozen pipes
There are a few things you can do to winterize your pipes and help prevent them from freezing:
Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or heat tape
Keep your house at a comfortable temperature during winter, especially in areas where pipes are exposed
Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
Drain water from the swimming pool and outside hoses
Insulate exposed pipes in unheated areas
Seal cracks and holes near the foundation of your home
Disconnect and drain any gardening hoses
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
Set the thermostat in your home to no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit
If you’re going on vacation, leave the heat on in your home and set it to at least 55°F.
If you think your pipes may be frozen, thaw them out as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Be sure to shut off your water at the main valve before attempting to thaw your pipes, and call a plumber if you need assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will pipes thaw on their own?
This is certainly true, but it is very risky. When ice melts, it creates more pressure in the pipe. Higher pressure can cause a burst pipe, and if a pipe bursts, you now have more significant problems on your hands.
How quickly do pipes freeze?
Pipes will freeze within a couple of hours – meaning they could freeze for hours, at least overnight. The chances of frozen pipes are higher. Indoor pipes have more protection, usually requiring temperatures 20 F – below when freezing occurs.
Do frozen pipes burst?
Not all do. Eventually, ice accumulates on pipes and prevents the flow of fluid from the pipes. Pipes of copper, plastic, and steel can freeze, and copper is the hardest to break down when frozen but will burst eventually. PEX and PP can freeze, but they can’t explode.
Why do freezing pipes burst?
Some freezing pipes don’t break down like that, said a Roto-Rooter spokesperson. When that happens, the water expands when it freezes, adding significant pressure to the rigid plumbing pipe. This pressure can result in tiny holes in pipe joints releasing water into the entire house.