Did you know that when water freezes in a pipe it expands? And as it expands, it can exert as much as 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch on your plumbing system.
Residential plumbing, as it’s routed through attics and crawl spaces, faces brutal temperature conditions. If you live in an area susceptible to freezing winter weather, then you should keep an eye on your pipes. While it’s always best to work proactively to prevent a frozen pipe, what should you do if one of your pipes has frozen?
Here’s what to do if you have a frozen pipe.
1. Turn on the Faucet
If your pipe has frozen, when you turn on the faucet, you won’t have any water come out. But, make sure you leave the faucet turned on. As the pipes begin to thaw, the running water will help melt the frozen water and signal your progress.
2. Turn on the Heater
If you are in a position where the pipes have frozen, chances are you already have the heater on. Use this as an excuse to keep the heat running. Allowing the warm air to circulate freely in your home will help warm the pipes in your walls.
3. Open the Cabinets
In the interest of warming the pipes as much as possible, open the cabinets to allow warm air to flow around the exposed pipes. As a word of caution, if you have chemicals or cleaning products that are now accessible, be sure to move them up. This will prevent small children or pets from getting into things they shouldn’t.
4. Visually Inspect the Pipes
If possible, visually inspect the pipes. If you have a pipe that has frozen, the damage may have already been done. If you notice any obvious splitting or bulging in one of your water pipes, shut off your water main and call us immediately. Although you may not be seeing any water leaking yet, as soon as the ice blockage thaws, you may experience a sudden and large volume of water from the pipe break, which can cause large amounts of damage very quickly.
5. Apply Heat to the Pipes
The key to heating pipes is safety. Never use anything that involves a direct flame. This can destroy your pipes and start an accidental fire.
Here are some options to safely thaw your pipes:
- Electrical heating blankets or pads
- Automatic heat tapes
- Towels soaked in hot water
- A hairdryer
- A heat gun on low setting
Start at the segment closest to the faucet and work your way further down the pipe. As you thaw the pipes you should begin to hear the water trickle from the sink.
6. Shut Off Water Supply if Needed
The key to success in any residential plumbing project is knowing where to find your main water supply valve and understanding how to turn it off. As you thaw the pipes, you may find water that was frozen begin to leak out of the pipe. At this point, it’s time to call a plumbing company.
Burst pipe repair is a basic skill in the plumbing business and you should be able to find plumbing companies to quickly come to your aid.
Get the Help of a Residential Plumbing Expert
If at any point while you are thawing your pipes you suspect a burst pipe, call in an expert. Professional residential plumbing services can save you money in the long run by fixing a problem before it becomes catastrophic.
We at MM Comfort Systems have the skills to fix whatever plumbing problem you may have. Contact us today to request a quote.