Winter is here, and with the season comes the possibility of frozen pipes.
Frozen pipes can easily lead to burst pipes. Inside the home, this can mean a sudden and unchecked water flow which can cause potentially costly damages.
First, though, you’ll need to know what to do when your pipes freeze. As with all types of water damage, the faster you respond to minimize damage, the better off your property will be!
What to Do When Your Pipes Freeze
If temperatures are below freezing and you turn on a faucet to find only a trickle of water coming out, you may have a frozen pipe.
Time is essential when you have a frozen pipe. You will first need to identify the problem area, then thaw the affected pipe or pipes.
Identifying Frozen Pipes
Most frozen pipes can be identified by a water line which is coated in frost or bulging outwards. Search for frozen pipes against exterior walls, along the foundation, and in areas which are less insulated against the cold – especially in garages and crawl spaces.
Finding a frozen pipe is not always straightforward, as many pipes are underground and inaccessible. If you cannot find or access the frozen pipe, call your plumber.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
Once you have located your frozen pipe, it’s time to thaw it before the pressure increases and the pipe bursts.
- First, keep your faucets open. As you thaw the affected area, water will begin to flow again. The flowing water will help melt more ice and speed the process.
- Heat the area as well as the pipe itself, if possible. Use an electric space heater, hairdryer, warm towels, or electric heating pad. Remember – don’t leave any electric appliances unattended. Melting water plus electricity can pose a health hazard.
- Continue to apply heat until the water pressure in your faucets returns to normal.
- Don’t try to thaw your pipe using a blowtorch or other open flame device, as you could wind up setting your home on fire!
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Now that you know what to do when your pipes freeze, let’s look at how to prevent frozen pipes from happening at all. A few preventative steps will save you a potential hassle later!
- If you know that the temperature will be dropping into the freezing range, leave at least one faucet to drip overnight. Choose which faucet by looking at where the water lines come into the house. If your water comes in from the back, then choose a faucet near the front. This way, you waste less water while keeping a constant flow through your home’s piping.
- Insulate pipes which are exposed – both in your basement and outside. Most hardware stores will carry insulating tape or sleeves, as well as domes for exterior faucets. For indoor pipes, a few layers of newspaper and masking tape will also work! Insulating your pipes has the added bonus of keeping your water warmer – and that means less energy costs to reheat water throughout the entire season.
- If you have exposed pipes in your garage, keep the garage doors closed.
- If you are going out of town during a period of freezing temperatures, set your thermostat to a low and constant temperature, and open cabinets with under-counter piping. This will help keep your home’s interior pipes from freezing while you’re away.
What to do if a Water Pipe Bursts
- First, shut off the main water supply. This will prevent further flooding and minimize damage.
- Then, call Tidal Wave Response! Burst pipes don’t wait for a ‘good time’ to happen.Our experienced team is ready 24/7 to assess and mitigate water damage in your home.
- While you wait for our experts to arrive at your Atlanta area home in 30 minutes or less, take this time to move valuables to a safe and dry location. Dry as much of the standing water as you can.
- Let our team take care of the rest! We clean, restore, and replace your property back to its original condition. We even work with your insurance company so that you don’t have to!