Frozen Pipes


Frozen plumbing in a home is at least very inconvenient and, at most, very expensive and possibly disastrous.  If they do become frozen, but haven’t burst yet (hopefully), you can take some measures to begin thawing frozen pipes.  As important as it is to begin thawing frozen pipes, it is just as important to find the cause and remedy that.  Suppose the pipes freeze and burst at a time when you’re asleep or away?  How unpleasant would that be to walk in on?  Try these simple steps for thawing frozen pipes and preventing them from freezing in the first place.

  1. Look around the frozen area.  Look for signs of cracks in the pipes near the frozen portion.  Dripping water or puddles under the pipes could be an indication that the pipe has cracked.  Make sure that any puddles or dripping aren’t just from condensation on the pipe.
  2. Shut down the water supply.  Because once thawing the pipes has been accomplished, you don’t want any watery surprises to clean up.  Shut down the water supply and any messes that may occur will be kept to a minimum.
  3. Open up all fixtures associated with the frozen pipes.  Because once the pipes are thawed, if they aren’t leaking, the water will need somewhere to go.  Opening up any fixtures associated with that pipeline will allow the water to escape.
  4. Start thawing the frozen pipes.  This should be done slowly and carefully, but there are a number of ways to accomplish the thawing.  You can use heat tape that is purchased at the local hardware store.  Wrap towels dowsed in hot water around the affected area.  You can try blowing hot air from an electric hair dryer onto the pipes.  Sometimes putting a space heater in close proximity to the area will even do the trick.  Regardless of which method you use, stay close by so you can monitor the progress.

After thawing frozen pipes, take the time to insulate around them to keep the cold away.  A little prevention now can prevent problems in the future.  Pipe insulation can be purchased inexpensively at most hardware stores if needed.  Sometimes just stuffing some insulation into the wall or floor cavity surrounding the pipes will do the trick.  The idea is to keep them from freezing again and to avoid potential disaster.