Pipes Frozen?

It’s not too late to keep your pipes from freezing! Frozen water, in an unprotected pipe, expands. That expansion can rupture the pipe. A frozen pipe, while inconvenient, may cause serious damage to your home. With just a few steps, you may still have time to winterize your home. If it’s more than you can handle, give My Plumber Heating & Cooling a call, so we can prepare your home before damage occurs.

Steps to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Disconnect all of the outdoor hoses from the faucets and drain the hoses to protect them from splitting.
  • Turn off the water supply to the hose bib.
  • Open the faucet outside the house and let the water drain. Do not close the hose bib.
  • Check the outdoor faucets for leaks and drips. Even minor leaks and drips can lead to frozen pipes. Cover the outside faucets with a Styrofoam cone cover.
  • Check the exposed pipes in the basement, crawlspace, and garage. Then insulate them with insulating tape, if they are near outside walls or windows.
  • You should also inspect and clean your sump pump and pit. Pumps exposed to cold temperatures can freeze and stop working.

Steps to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you are already experiencing frozen pipes, try the following recommendations:

  • Open the faucet, so steam produced by the thawing, will be able to escape.
  • Start thawing the pipe using a pipe-thawing method below.  Begin at the faucet, and work back towards the other end of the frozen section. As the ice melts, water and steam will come out of the open faucet. If you start in the middle, steam produced by the melting ice could get trapped and build up enough pressure to burst the pipe.

Pipe-thawing options:

  • The most popular and safest pipe-thawing method is to use hot water. Wrap and secure heavy a towel or burlap bag around the pipe to concentrate and hold heat against it. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch runoff water. Then, pour hot or boiling water over the towel.
  • Another method is to use a heat lamp or hair dryer.  Move the hair dryer back and forth, never leaving it in one spot for too long. Be especially careful if you’re near any soldered pipe joints. Pass over them very quickly or they may also cause leaks. If your pipes are plastic, do not use a heat lamp or hair dryer.
  • To thaw a frozen drainpipe, remove the trap, and insert a garden hose into the pipe. When you can’t push the hose any further, it has probably reached the blockage. Raise your end of the hose and feed hot water in, through a funnel. This way, the hot water is sure to get to the problem area. You must be careful when using this technique because until the ice melts and drains down the pipe, the hot water you pour in will back up toward you. Have a bucket ready to catch the overflow, and be careful not to scald yourself.

As always, if these steps are more than you can handle, call My Plumber today!