Pipes can freeze in a matter of hours, which is something that many homeowners don’t realize. And given that we still have plenty of chilly weather ahead—particularly at night—this is not something you should dismiss. It’s first important to know how to prevent such an incident from occurring.
However, if you’ve found yourself already facing this winter plumbing woe and it hasn’t yet led to a plumbing emergency, then you’ll want to act quickly to avoid one. Keep reading for some great tips on how to avoid and how to resolve frozen pipes.
Avoiding Frozen Pipes
The best way to prevent frozen pipes is to conduct these steps before the onset of winter, and hopefully you haven’t had any problems during the chilliest of weather.
- Hoses: Perhaps as the snow has melted you’ve been tempted to hook your outdoor hoses back up to prepare for spring. But don’t do this too soon. Your hoses should be removed and drained until temperatures stay steadily above 30°F. Make sure that your outside hose bibs are open to allow any water to drain, and keep the outside valve open as well.
- Keep Your Home Insulated: Keep your garage doors closed if you have any water supply lines in the garage. Also, you may want to keep your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors cracked open so that they have access to the warmth from your heater.
- Keep Your Thermostat Steady: We understand that during the winter to conserve energy you are likely tempted to turn your thermostat down at night. After all, you can bundle up with blankets. However, making your home cooler means there’s more of a chance that your pipes will freeze. It’s best to find a happy medium to save energy but also to protect your pipes.
What If You Encounter a Frozen Pipe?
First off, if you cannot access or aren’t sure where the frozen pipe is, then the first thing you should do is call our professional plumbers. Neglecting to do so and attempting to repair this on your own can lead to more harm than good and a costly emergency later on.
But, if you turn on a faucet to see only a trickle coming out, and the weather has been colder, then you do likely have a frozen pipe. The area where this is most likely to occur includes any pipes that are against exterior walls, or where you water service enters your home through the foundation.
So what can you do? First, keep the faucet open a bit. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the pipe. Running water through the pipe will help melt the ice within the pipe.
Then, you can apply heat to the section of pipe—if accessible—using towels soaked in hot water or even an electric heating pad. Be sure to of course keep any cords away from water! Also, although it may be very tempting, do not use a blowtorch—yes, this has happened—or any other open flame device.
If You Cannot Thaw the Pipes on Your Own
If you can’t thaw your frozen pipes, then the best thing to do is to call on professionals who have experience and training with this type of issue. Therefore you can ensure that the repair will be done right, without the risk of creating further damage to your plumbing system.