Frozen pipes are common issues many homes face in the United States, primarily due to the highly frigid winter temperature. Sometimes, if not immediately attended to, it becomes a bigger problem and can even affect the sewer line, leading to expensive sewer pipe cleaning.
Thankfully, frozen pipe repair can be less expensive if your home is covered by insurance. Therefore, it is vital to find out how your homeowner’s insurance can help to relieve you of the cost. There are also ways you can discover and fix a frozen pipe before a professional plumber intervenes. This article discusses these ways.
How To Identify Frozen Pipes
Detecting frozen pipes at their early stage is the first step to fixing them. It saves you extra costs since you may be able to fix it yourself at this stage. One of the signs of frozen pipes is that water has ceased to flow from the faucet when turned on. If this happens, confirm there are no leaks, and the pipes didn’t burst.
If there are no leakages or ruptures, then you are likely dealing with frozen pipes, and you can go ahead to fix them yourself. However, this might be some hard work for you, especially if you’re unfamiliar with maintenance works; hence, you may need to call a professional utility contractor in Maryland. Here are some ways you can fix your frozen pipes before the intervention of an expert.
Find the Exposed Pipe and Start Thawing
As said earlier, locating the frozen pipes is the first step to fixing them. Once you’ve confirmed the frozen pipes, the next thing is to find the exposed areas of the pipe. These include: under the sink, the basement, the home’s exterior, etc.
The next step is thawing, which involves applying heat to the exposed frozen pipes to liquidate the water inside.
In case of a ruptured pipe, fix the pipe before thawing. An experienced plumber is the best for this. A different method will be employed if the frozen pipes are behind the walls of your home.
Let the Faucet Run
Before starting the thawing process, you need to keep the faucet open. This will allow the pipes to discharge the steam and water created during the thawing process. Leaving the taps open also accelerates the thawing process since water constantly runs through the tube. It will also help ease the pipe from the pressure that comes with freezing.
Avoid Open Flame Devices
One of the most expensive mistakes you can make is trying to thaw your frozen pipes with open flame devices such as a propane torch, kerosene heater, blowtorch, or charcoal stove. This will permanently destroy your pipes and put your home at risk of a fire hazard.
Instead of open flame devices, you can make use of the following:
- A hairdryer. Point the dryer directly to the frozen pipe, and start from the closest pipe to the faucet till you get to the other end. Be careful not to come in contact with water since the hairdryer operates on electricity.
- In the absence of a hairdryer, you can also work with heat lamps or a small space heater. Like the hairdryer, point the lamp directly to the frozen pipes. This will hasten the thawing process since it uses indirect heat. Heat lamps use electricity too; hence, you must avoid contact with water.
- A good frozen pipe fix is also using towels and heating pads. This is done by heating towels in hot water and wrapping them around the pipes. In the case of a heating pad, apply the pad directly to the pipe. This will distribute the heat around the pipe. The heating pad also uses electricity, requiring the same carefulness as other methods. Remember to disconnect it from electricity as soon as you’re done.
- If the freeze is not extensive, You can use your regular thermostat to thaw the pipes. Simply turn it on high enough to melt the ice. Once the thermostat is open, ensure you maintain a single temperature.
Mind Your Walls
Thawing your frozen pipes can be more complex and tricky if the pipe is behind the wall. At this point, it’s best to invite professional plumbers. They have the experience and the tools to do a perfect job. However, if you’re experienced, you can get access to the pipe by cutting down a part of the drywall. Once you access the pipe, you can follow the steps mentioned earlier.
Prevent the Freeze
Although you have no control over the weather, you still have some control over your pipes. Hence, you can prevent them from freezing by following the steps below:
- Ensure you remove water from pipes prone to freezing: your sprinkler water supply lines and swimming pools are under this category.
- Disconnect hoses that supply water outside the home. Drain the hoses and keep them in a safe place. Don’t forget to lock the valve that supplies water outside the home.
- Ensure the attic is safe from the heat by insulating the area’s light fixtures and vents.
- Leave the kitchen cabinets open to ensure proper circulation of warm air to the pipes.
- Close the garage doors to keep the water lines safe from the freeze.
- When the weather is extremely frigid, allow the faucets to drop water, freezing will be harder due to the consistent movement of water.
- Light up areas where pipes are more likely to freeze with a 60-watt bulb. However, keep combustibles away from the bulb.
Fixing frozen pipes can last for minutes to days, depending on the location of the pipe and the weather. Generally, pipes freeze when the temperature drops to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, which exerts much pressure on the pipes, making the thawing process last longer. Despite the DIY tips, it’s always best to consult the service of experienced plumbers. This assures you of a good job and also saves you avoidable stress. So you can get in touch with us at BFMD if you need help fixing a frozen pipe.
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