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Frozen Pipes: 6 Things You Should Do If Your Pipes Are Frozen

Research shows that around 14,000 Americans suffer a water damage emergency at home or work every day.

In the winter, frozen pipes are a major culprit so homeowners must know the signs and how to deal with them.

image - Frozen Pipes: 6 Things You Should Do If Your Pipes Are Frozen
Frozen Pipes: 6 Things You Should Do If Your Pipes Are Frozen

Perhaps your pipes are frozen, and you’re unsure what to do. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are six things to do if your pipes are frozen.


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Symptoms of Frozen Pipes

Before we solve your frozen pipe water damage problem, we must identify the telltale signs of frozen water pipes. Once you notice any of these, you must act quickly. You should look out for:

Temperature

“What temperature is freezing?”

It’s impossible for water or pipes to freeze when it’s 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside. If the temperature drops lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, take precautions against the dripping weather.

When frost appears on exposed pipes like under the sink, it’s a clear sign the pipe is frozen.

No Water Comes out of the Faucet

One of the earliest signs of frozen pipes is no water comes out when you turn the faucet on.

If there’s no running water, head to the basement to see whether the water’s turned on and there isn’t a leak.

Strange Smells

Another potential sign of frozen pipes is an odd smell coming from the faucet or drain. This is because the only way for an odor to escape is because the pipe is partially or fully frozen.

What to Do If Your Pipes Are Frozen

Once you’ve decided the pipes are frozen, you must take immediate action. There are many ways to handle frozen pipes before they burst. Consider these, for example:

  1. Use a Hairdryer

Regardless of which method you choose, keep your faucet open during the process. Water streams through the system so your pipes need to discharge the excess. Plus, moving water is key to shifting frost.

Using a hairdryer is one of the easiest ways to thaw a pipe. Turn the dryer on and direct the nozzle toward the pipe, starting to the section closest to the faucet.

Be mindful of using the electrical product as you don’t want to come in contact with water.

  1. Try a Heat Lamp

Bring a heat lamp close to your frozen pipe so the heat thaws it. Or you can use a portable space heater.

Again, follow the same safety measures on the device and keep it away from water.

  1. Use an Electrical Heating Tape

It’s possible to apply electrical heating tape around the frozen pipe. It slowly distributes heat, eventually thawing it.

It’s possible to buy electrical heating tape that you plug in or buy heating tape that turns off by itself.

  1. Try Hot Towels

If you don’t have any of the above, consider wrapping hot towels around the pipe.

Dip your towels in hot water and wrap them tightly around the pipe. They will eventually thaw the blockage and return the flow of water.

Continue applying heat to the pipe until the water flow returns to normal. Once it’s successfully thawed, turn on other faucets in your home to see if there are any more frozen pipes.

  1. Call a Professional

Unconfident DIY-ers should hire a professional. Plumbers have the equipment and expertise to thaw your pipes efficiently and get them running again.

If you’re leaving your home for an extended period, hire a professional to shut off the water supply and ensure no water is left in the system.

You should also ask what to do for your heating system as your boiler may need to be drained or filled with antifreeze.

  1. Know What Not to Do

Never use a blowtorch, propane, or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes as they are severe fire hazards.

And never leave any heating device unattended. Otherwise, it may cause an accident.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

One of the most obvious preventative measures is draining pipes likely to freeze such as sprinkler water supply lines. Or place an insulating dome over outdoor faucets or spigots so they’re less likely to freeze.

You should also disconnect, drain, and store hoses in the garage and close indoor valves that supply these outdoor access points.

Consider insulating pipes because when the water’s warmer, less energy is needed to heat water in winter.

In extreme weather, leave faucets dripping as it prevents the pipes from freezing. Even a trickle will keep the water moving and prevent it from solidifying.

If you’re leaving your home in the winter, don’t turn your thermostat all the way down. Your home should be no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit otherwise your pipes will freeze.

You should also open cabinets under your sink so warmer air circulates around the pipes. Plus, seal any wall cracks, keep garage doors closed to protect water lines, and insulate light fixtures so heat doesn’t escape into the attic.

That’s What to Do When Pipes Are Frozen

Now you know what to do when pipes are frozen.

You can thaw pipes with a hairdryer, heater, electrical heating tape, or hot towels if you’re confident. Consider calling a professional for a quick and safe fix so your pipes aren’t blocked during the winter.

Take precautions so your pipes don’t freeze and you’re not overwhelmed by bills. Good luck!

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