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What To Do if You Have Frozen Pipes

Cold weather brings feelings of coziness, giving you the chance to snuggle by the fire or ride on a one-horse open sleigh. Unfortunately, when the weather turns truly bitter, frozen pipes become a real possibility. Here’s what to do if you have frozen pipes.

Find Out if You Have Frozen Pipes

The most obvious symptom is when you turn on a faucet full blast and only a trickle comes out. If this happens when the temperature is well below freezing outside, it’s time to take action! Ignoring frozen pipes could lead to burst pipes and costly water damage.

Turn off the Main Water Line

The only way to stop the water flowing from a burst pipe is to turn off the main water line. Even if the frozen pipe isn’t leaking, shut off the main water line just in case.

Open a Faucet Supplied By the Frozen Pipe

This releases pressure within the pipe and gives water from the frozen area somewhere to go once you thaw it.

Thaw a Hidden Pipe

If the frozen pipe is located behind a finished wall, you have three options:

  • Turn up the thermostat and wait for the ice to thaw.
  • Tear out a section of the wall to access the pipe.
  • Use an infrared lamp to thaw the pipe through the wall.

Apply Heat to an Exposed Pipe

Thawing an exposed pipe is much easier. Starting from the faucet side and working your way toward the frozen area, apply heat to slowly thaw the ice using one of these products:

  • Hair dryer
  • Infrared heating lamp
  • Portable electric space heater
  • Electric heating pad or blanket
  • Electric pipe heat tape
  • Towels soaked in hot water

Never use these devices to thaw frozen pipes:

  • Blowtorch
  • Kerosene
  • Propane heater
  • Charcoal stove
  • Any other open flame device

Check for Other Frozen Pipes

If one pipe has frozen, others can as well. As long as the newly thawed pipe hasn’t burst, turn the main water line back on and test all the faucets in your house to see whether any other frozen areas exist.

Call a Plumber

  • Frozen pipes can be nasty business. Don’t hesitate to call a friendly Mr. Rooter® plumber for assistance. We can help you:
  • Locate frozen pipes behind finished walls.
  • Safely thaw both accessible and hidden pipes.
  • Replace burst pipes.
  • Add insulation to exposed pipes and unconditioned areas.

Prevent Frozen Pipes in the Future

You can’t control the weather, but you can control the effect cold temperatures have on your pipes. Follow this advice the next time the temperature plummets:

  • Let a few faucets trickle. Moving water resists freezing.
  • Set your thermostat no lower than 55 degrees, even if you’re out of town.
  • Open under-sink cabinets to let warm air circulate around the pipes.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with electrical heat tape.
  • Insulate vulnerable pipes with foam insulation.
  • Keep the garage door closed if pipes run through this space.
  • Run a space heater in unconditioned spaces where pipes are located to keep the temperature above 40 degrees.

Need Help Thawing Frozen Pipes?

That’s what we’re here for! Recover from frozen pipes with the least amount of property damage possible – call Mr. Rooter Plumbing for frozen pipe services today!


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