Winter is approaching and so do the problems that come from the extreme temperature drop. Aside from snow piling up your front yard, there are the slippery roads that force you to winterize your vehicle.
But when it comes to your house, a frozen pipe is one of the most common in the United States. Leaving your pipes to freeze is also one of the worst mistakes you can commit.
Not only does it affect the water supply in your home if the pipes burst, but it will also cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
As a result, close to two-thirds of homes with frozen pipes claim for insurance during winter.
But how do you address frozen pipes? What are the steps you can do before calling for professional plumbing services?
Continue reading below for nine simple tips for fixing a frozen pipe.
1. Locate the Frozen Pipe
Before you can fix any frozen pipe, you must first learn how to locate them. To do this, turn on all the faucets within your property. Check if the water runs freely.
If there is none or only trickles come out, then you have a frozen pipe. If one of your pipes is full of ice, your other pipes are likely in the same condition.
Next, you want to examine your exposed pipes. These are the pipes in your basement, your home’s exterior, and those under the sinks. Check if there are signs of freezing like a slight bulge or frost.
Also, you want to check for a burst pipe. If there is, turn off your water supply immediately. You need to fix the burst pipe first before thawing.
This is also the time when you call your plumber to fix the burst pipe.
For frozen pipes behind your walls, you need a different approach for those. We will discuss them in detail later on.
2. Let the Faucet Run
After locating the frozen pipe, you need to open your faucet anew. Make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This step will relieve the system of the pressure that developed because of the blockage.
This will also help the water move and escape as soon as you start thawing the pipe.
3. Avoid Open Flames
Another valuable tip is learning about the methods to avoid when thawing your pipes. When thawing a pipe, never use an open flame. If you’re thinking of using your trust propane torch, drop the idea.
Not only will an open flame damage the pipe, but it will also put your home at risk of catching fire.
4. Hairdryer for the Frozen Pipe
Since an open flame is out of the equation, what then are the best items you can use to heat your pipe? Head to your dresser and grab your hairdryer. Turn on the dryer and point it directly to the pipe.
You want to heat the pipe, starting from the area that is closest to the faucet. From there, gradually move until you reach the other end of the pipe.
When using a hairdryer, you need to pay extra attention to your surroundings. Since hair dryers run on electricity, you need to be wary of getting in contact with water.
5. Heat Lamps Work Too
If you don’t have a hairdryer, a good alternative is a heat lamp. You may also go for a portable space heater if you have one.
Hold the heat lamp in a position where it reaches the frozen pipe. The heat lamp will create an indirect heat that will aid you in thawing the pipe faster.
But like the hairdryer, ensure that you don’t come in contact with water.
6. Try Towels and Heating Tapes
Adding to the simple household items you can use, grab some of your towels, and heat them. Take the towels and dip them in hot water. Thereafter, wrap the towels around the pipe.
And if you have some electrical heating tape, apply it directly to the pipe. The tape works by distributing the heat across the pipe. This tape is not like your ordinary tape.
You need to plug it in a socket for it to generate heat. But the good thing about the electrical heating tape is that you can find one that automatically shuts down on its own.
7. Use Your Thermostat
If you have a thermostat at home, use it to turn up the heat in your property. Sometimes, the blockage is not as extensive. In such cases, turning on your thermostat several notches higher can melt the ice.
And once you open your thermostat, try to maintain the same temperature regardless if it’s day or night. Ideally, you want to keep your indoor temperature higher than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Mind Your Walls
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, the frozen pipe is behind your wall. This can be tricky, though it is not an impossible challenge to overcome.
If you have the knowledge and tools, you can try cutting a section of the drywall. This will allow you to gain access to the pipe. From there, you can perform any of the thawing methods we discussed above.
Otherwise, you should call your trusted plumber to take over. Plumbers have the tools and expertise to open up walls. They can also point you to the best services for your plumbing concerns.
9. Prevent the Freeze
Last but not least, one of the best tips to address frozen pipes is to prevent them from happening in the future. For starters, keep all the doors inside your house open as often as possible.
You also want to check the insulation in your house. If you don’t have any, don’t hesitate to install insulation.
Practice the habit of draining your pipes that are likely to freeze. Make sure to drain the water lines for your sprinklers and swimming pools, if you have one.
Let your faucets drip cold water. Even if you do not turn on the faucet completely, the dripping movement will keep the freezing at bay.
Additionally, check your doors and windows and make sure they have proper seals.
Winterize Your Entire Home
Learning how to fix a frozen pipe is an essential skill every homeowner should possess. Not only will it ensure water supply in your home, but it will also keep you from spending serious money on repairs. But your water pipes are not the only things you need to winterize.
If you need to fix a frozen pipe that's beyond your capabilities, don't hesitate to call the experts. Feel free to get in touch with us right here and request a free job quote.