DIY Tips From the Warner Service Blog

How to Prevent, Find and Thaw Out Frozen Pipes

Posted by Warner Service on Nov 13, 2015 2:26:47 PM

Think about all of wonderfully frozen things to look forward to this winter.

There’s frozen hot chocolate, the movie Frozen, ice-skating and so much more. However, there are also some not-so-wonderful things that can freeze when the temperatures drop, including your home’s pipes.

If these pipes are subjected to the severe cold, their material will be under tremendous pressure from the water’s expansion. If the pipes cannot hold the pressure, they will burst, which can cost you hundreds in damages and repairs. To help you save money for this Christmas shopping season, here is Warner Service’s guide to preventing, finding and thawing out frozen pipes:

Prevention

  • If you have a swimming pool, drain the water from the pool and the sprinkler supply lines by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Open and disconnect the outdoor hose bibs and allow the water to drain completely. Once completed, close the indoor valves and keep the outdoor valve open, so the pipe can expand without causing a burst.
  • Look in the basement, crawl spaces, the attic, the garage and under kitchen and bathroom counters for unheated water supply lines. Both hot and cold lines in these areas should be insulated to maintain higher temperatures.
  • Consider installing pipe sleeves, heat tape or a heat cable for prevention. If you want to save a little money, using newspaper works the same way. No matter which tactic you use, keep the insulator dry.
  • Keep the garage door closed if supply lines are present in the area.
  • Remove any harmful household chemicals and cleaning products from under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. After that, open those cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing underneath the counters.
  • When the weather is unbearably cold, let the water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during the night and day. However, if you and your family are away from your home for an extended period of time, set the thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees and turn your heat on. You can also completely turn off the water supply to your home to reduce pressure.
  • Call a professional to relocate your outdoor pipes to provide less exposure to the elements.

Finding a frozen pipe

  • If you turn on the faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe.
  • If one pipe freezes, it is likely that others have frozen as well, so check every faucet.

Thawing Out

  1. Turn on your faucet and keep the water running at a constant slow drip.
  2. Apply heat to only the section of the pipe that is frozen by using an electric heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater or warm water-soaked towels.

Warning: Do not use any device that has an open flame or chemically flammable properties.

  1. Apply this heat until the water pressure has been fully restored.

The last thing on your mind this holiday season should be finding and fixing frozen pipes in your home. Before the temperatures drop, take the proper precautions such as draining certain water supply lines, insulating damp areas and keeping the thermostat at a constant temperature.

Typically this problem can be resolved before any serious damage occurs. However, if you do suspect your pipe has frozen, it’s better to fix it sooner rather than later. Follow our handy instructions to finding and thawing out the iced-over section.

If you cannot locate the section of frozen pipe or our instructions have not worked, contact a licensed plumber like Warner Service immediately.

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Topics: Plumbing