How To Unfreeze Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes disrupt livesNothing is worse than waking up in the morning and no water comes out of the faucet. Blame it on the temperatures during winter. Frozen water are just another reason to hate the frigid weather. When water freezes in a pipe, the cold water expands and exerts pressure on the pipe with more than 2,000 pounds per square inch. This means that the pipe is filled with water but there is not enough room for the to expand.

When the pipe bursts, expect gallons and gallons of water to flood your home and, yes, it also means expensive damages. So the first thing you have to do when the pipe water freezes is to thaw it—and survey the pipe if it has already ruptured.

How to

  1. Make sure to thaw the pipe as soon as possible and you should be at home when it does. In case the pipe or joint has burst, you will be there to manage the problem.
  2. Open the faucet before you start thawing. This helps the steam to exit out of the pipe and avoid ruptures.
  3. A safe way of thawing is to use electric heat tape on the pipe. The heat tape slowly thaws the pipe and reduces the risk of damage on the pipe. (Caution: Learn about the different types of heat tape for pipes and how to apply them properly on this site.)
  4. If an electric heat tape is not readily available, you can try using lots of cloths and towels to wrap around the pipe. Wrap as many times as you can until the pipe thaws. Keep pouring hot water over the cloth or towel to help unfreeze the pipe.
  5. You can also use a hair dryer to blow hot air onto the pipe. Stand on dry ground and stay away from water. The hair dryer should be plugged into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected outlet.
  6. Use a heat lamp on the pipe and place it on dry ground and at least 12 inches away from the pipe. To avoid scorching the materials around the pipe, cover them with aluminum foil.
  7. If the is near the gas pipe, do not use any direct-heating method or propane torch to avoid fire.
  8. When the pipe is thawing out, water will start dribbling out of the open faucet. Let the water pour out of the faucet to clear the pipe.
  9. Check for leaks on the pipe after water has thawed out.
  10. If after doing the above suggestions and the frozen pipe still has not thawed out, call a plumber.
  11. Regularly check your faucets at any time of the day.
  12. Leave the faucet open at a trickle or a drip even at nighttime or when you leave the house for a short time.
  13. Heat up your home. It may be more costly because of the fuel usage, but having a will be more expensive because of the damages it can incur on your home.

How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

  1. Regularly check your faucets at any time of the day.
  2. Leave the faucet open at a trickle or a drip even at nighttime or when you leave the house for a short time.
  3. Heat up your home. It may be more costly because of the fuel usage, but having a burst pipe will be more expensive because of the damages it can incur on your home.
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Frank Chisholm has been in the construction for almost 40 years and has plenty of experience in church renovations and building and planning. He now works at Carolina Services Inc, a construction solutions company in North Charleston, SC.

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