Frozen pipes during winter are no picnic, and can lead to a variety of water related plumbing emergencies. Exposed water pipes and fittings are extremely vulnerable during winter. Water running through non-insulated pipes located along exterior walls or crawl spaces can freeze during extremely cold spells. When water freezes it expands enough to split open exposed pipes, and leak out melted ice water. Aside from wasting gallons of scarce water, burst pipes flood homes, ruin indoor belongings and damage foundation walls.
Need to insulate your pipes for the winter? Submit the adjacent form to receive plumbing estimates on piping services by local plumbers.
The best prevention against burst or frozen pipes emergencies - is avoiding them altogether. To prevent frozen pipes plumbers encourage homeowners to make sure that all exposed water lines are properly insulated before temperatures drop significantly. Pipe insulation like heat tape, foam rubber sleeves, or fiberglass is your first line of defense against frozen water pipes.
In a situation that your frozen pipe has not yet ruptured, follow the steps below on how to conduct safe pipe thawing:
1. Stop water supply to frozen pipes by closing shutoff valves.
2. Open faucets to let out trapped steam and water.
3. Thaw pipe starting from faucet towards frozen section. This way melted water can flow out quickly, while water pressure will force remaining ice out of pipe. Never use open flames for pipe thawing for the risk of causing thermal water expansion that can bust the water pipe. Apply gentle heat on frozen pipe using one of the following methods:
Dip rags in hot water (about 105 degrees F) and wrap around the frozen pipe. Once rags cool, replace with hot ones.
Open faucet and work your way towards frozen section with a hair dryer. Do not keep dryer fixed on one point only. If the pipe is next to a wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto pipe.
Use a space heater directed to frozen section.
Cover frozen section with electrical heat stripes that have a thermostat controlling temperature. Heat tape is also useful in preventing a future frozen pipe emergency.
It's highly recommended to hire plumbers to insulate water pipes from freezing. Remember that frozen pipes are not a must. With the right protection, you can prevent your pipes from freezing. Submit the following form and receive local plumbing estimates for frozen pipes repair and insulation services.
Note that the low winter temperatures in the following locations may cause pipes to freeze or burst:
- Lancaster, CA
- Birmingham, AL