Finding frozen pipes in your home can mean big trouble. When water freezes, it expands, and as a result, the ice can easily expand past the limits of the metal or PVC of your pipes. Knowing about how to remedy this type of situation is an important part of being a homeowner, especially if you live in an area prone to icing over when it gets cold. In fact, knowing a few simple tips and tricks can save you thousands of dollars worth of repair costs later on. While making sure that you have enough insulation to prevent your pipes from freezing during the cold months of the year is the best course of action, there are also plenty of things that you can do if you find that your pipes have already frozen over. These are some of the top tips to try or at least think about.
Keep the Faucet Open
In an effort to prevent freezing, you should keep the water in your house running as much as possible. Even if it’s just a trickle, running water prevents ice from forming in your pipes and can help relieve building pressure should ice already be forming. If you find your pipes already frozen, still turn on the faucet to allow water to begin running. During the thawing process, the water and any steam that that thawing process creates will need to have a place to go. That’s why you need to make sure that the faucets are open.
Even after you manage to unfreeze your pipes, it’s a good idea to keep the faucets trickling until the weather warms up and the ice outside thaws. This should help to avoid your pipes freezing again.
Heat the Frozen Pipes
When you need to thaw out a section of pipe, you can use some types of devices to apply heat, but you shouldn’t use anything that could cause a fire. For instance, a heating pad draped over the pipes can sometimes be enough to break up the ice chunk enough that it will flow through the pipes with some hot water. Towels soaked in hot water or a blow dryer can also do this work. You need to supervise the heating process at all times, and there are a few things that you never want to use. For instance, you should never use a blow torch or any kind of open flame. And even if you’re using a space heater, you need to keep the heat moving and never leave it unattended.
Turn On the Hot Water
When the ice in your pipes begins to melt, you can turn on the hot water to help the process along. If you can’t get hot water running through the pipes, even cool water will help melt the ice because it’s still warmer than the ice trapped inside. This water will also help push the ice along the pipe until it finds a faucet to exit through.
Call a Plumber
If you’re ever unsure of what to do or are afraid of doing even more damage, getting in touch with local plumbing services can save you a lot of hassle and money. A plumber will be able to assess whether or not there are multiple frozen places and figure out the best way to thaw out the pipes with minimal damage.
Dealing with an ice storm is frustrating enough without your pipes freezing. Not only is there suddenly a lack of water available, but there’s the risk that you’re plumbing could be severely damaged. If you’re unsure of how you would deal with frozen pipes, make plans sooner rather than later. And always have a good plumber in mind for emergencies.