It’s the nightmare of every homeowner, and it starts creeping up in the back of your mind as soon as the temperature starts dropping. Frozen pipes– a one-way ticket to bursts, leaks, and major plumbing headaches that take up time, money, and energy you just don’t have to spare.
Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, frozen pipes still happen, and when they do, it’s crucial for you to spring into action right away. After you’ve contacted your emergency plumber, here are the steps you should take to mitigate the damage caused by a frozen pipe!
Shut Off the Water Supply
Any time there’s a plumbing emergency going on in your house, your first step should be to head to the water supply valve and turn it off. This prevents any more water from entering your home, so if pipes burst or faucets run, you’ll be limiting the amount of mess you have to deal with– and avoiding serious water damage!
Open Your Faucets
When you’re trying to thaw a frozen pipe, it’s a good idea to open the taps and faucets in your house once the water has been turned off. This encourages the pipes to move water along as you thaw the blockage.
Locate the Frozen Pipe
Now, it’s time to find the location of the frozen pipe. The most obvious sign of a frozen pipe is a layer of visible frost around the pipe itself, though you may also see condensation instead of ice. You can tap your pipes with a hard object or tool and see where the pipe sounds solid instead of hollow– this will indicate a frozen blockage. You can also examine the pipes by touch and feel for extreme cold spots with your hand!
Try a Thawing Method
Once you’ve found the frozen portion of the pipe, you can begin trying to melt the ice. It’s important to note that if the pipe looks like it’s swelling or bubbling, or if it has a visible crack or leak, you should wait for an emergency plumber to help you to avoid causing more damage. However, if things look fine aside from the ice, you can try a thawing method to get things flowing properly again. Here are some safe ones that work!
- Use a hairdryer on the warm (not hot) setting
- Set a space heater in the area and point it near the pipe
- Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the pipe
The one thing you should NOT do is use a blowtorch or any other very intense heat source to thaw your pipe. This can make matters much worse!
Turn Water On and Check for Leaks
When you feel like you’ve gotten the pipe thawed out, you can turn the water valve back on part of the way (again, to prevent major water leakage just in case) and look to see if your faucets are flowing again. You should also check the frozen pipe and other pipes once the water is back on to ensure that nothing is leaking and that there have been no bursts or other damage to the pipes!
Let Your Plumber Help
If you’re not confident in your ability to thaw your pipes out yourself, or the frozen pipe seems particularly serious, it’s best to let your plumber handle the repair. Our team at Schuler is used to handling problems like frozen pipes and will be able to get things back in shape!
Prevent Frozen Pipes
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure, and it’s always far easier to prevent frozen pipes in the first place than to deal with them after they happen. There are lots of methods you can use to help keep your pipes from freezing during the winter, and they’re well worth the effort to help you avoid the hassle of frozen pipes.
Schuler Service, your local plumbing experts, can help you to deal with frozen pipes when they occur and prevent them before they happen! Make sure you contact us online or by phone if you’re interested in learning more.