This is the time of year when pipes can freeze. Frozen pipes occur when exterior temperatures drop enough that the pipes located on the outer parts of the house and in uninsulated sections of the house like the attic and basement are exposed to temperatures at or below 32 degrees. Pipes that freeze are an inconvenience because ice inside the pipe prevents the flow of water to the faucet. In some cases, ice can even cause pipes to burst as it expands.
These tips will help you thaw a frozen pipe and may help you detect when a pipe in your walls has burst:
Find the Frozen Pipe
The frozen pipe will be located on a part of your property where the air is very cold. Check your basement, crawl space and attic. Look under cabinets and in the garage. Examine all your pipes for frost and ice on the outside of pipe. Once you've found the pipe that is frozen, examine the pipe for any splits that indicate the pipe has burst. If the pipe has burst, contact a plumber right away.
Thaw the Pipe
To thaw the pipe, start by opening the faucet to let water though. Next, you'll need to apply heat to the frozen area. This can be done in one of a variety of ways:
- Wrap the pipe in a blanket and dribble hot water over the blanket.
- Heat the pipe with an electric blanket.
- Use a hair dryer to warm the pipe.
Do not use flames from a blow torch or any other source to heat the pipe, and do not mix methods to involve both the use of water and electricity.
Check for a Burst Pipe
Even if the pipe didn't seem to have burst when you examined it, it's still a good idea to check your home for evidence of a burst pipe after the pipe has been thawed. Walk slowly through all the sections of your house, examining your ceilings, walls and floors for puddles and water damage.
Listen for the sounds of unexplained running water. Finally, turn off all the faucets in your home and check the dial on your water meter. If your water meter dial is still turning, you likely have a burst pipe or a leak somewhere in your home
If your pipe has burst, if you're unable to find the frozen pipe, or if you have any trouble thawing the pipe, call for plumbing repair services. Work with a licensed plumber in your area who has a record of excellence in your community. To learn more, contact a company like Action Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. with any questions you have.