If you wake up early one winter morning only to find out there’s no water coming out of the faucet, frozen pipes are the likely culprits. When water inside the pipes turn to ice, it has the possibility to expand. This expansion forces the ice to the sides and joints of the pipes and can possibly cause damage. If this is the case, you may have to spend a costly amount for the repair, re-installation and clean-up.
Identifying Frozen Pipes
The lack of water is indicative of numerous plumbing problems, so you should be careful in making the diagnosis if your pipes are indeed frozen. To do this, consider the following indications:
- It’s winter or the temperature has dropped unusually low.
- You get a trickle to no water at all from the faucet.
- The toilet won’t refill water after it flushes.
- The pipes look unusually plump.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
If you are certain that this is a case of frozen pipes, here’s what you can do to chill it out, quite literally.
- Make sure to turn off the water immediately. Locate your shutoff valves to prevent the additional flow of water while you thaw the affected pipes.
- Open the faucet where the frozen pipe is connected. You don’t want for pressure to build up within the pipe as the water thaws out. Or else, you’ll have flooded room to clean and pipes to repair.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipes. Two of the safest and most effective ways to thaw the water from frozen pipes are:Wrapping the frozen pipes with a thick towel drenched with hot water. Moving a hand-held hair dryer through the length of the frozen pipe.
- You may be tempted to use direct heat such as a frozen torch, but don’t. This method may be quicker but it can also get very dangerous and the damage is costly.
- If you can’t reach the frozen pipes, call a local plumber to do the work for you.
- You have successfully thawed the pipes when water comes out from the faucet. Turn the valves on and check for leakages in your other pipes.
Never Let Your Pipes Freeze Again!
Relocating pipes prone to freezing is possible, especially if you are renovating your home. Ask a professional plumber to place these pipes away from direct snow during winter. You can also prevent frozen pipes, especially those outside your home and in direct snow, by letting the water run through the faucet even if it’s just a trickle. This will help ease the pressure from your pipes and prevent water to turn into ice.
Keep the house properly insulated during winter. Allow warm air to circulate within your home to keep the pipes from freezing. If you’re going away a winter vacation, make sure that the home temperature is set at 55 degree or above. Have a trusted friend or neighbor check on your home at least once daily during your vacation. You need water at all times of the year and preventing your pipes from freezing is an inexpensive course of action than leaked and burst frozen pipes.