Your Pipes are Frozen. Now What?

Image courtesy of drkfiber/Flickr.

Image courtesy of drkfiber/Flickr.

When the weather gets colder, your pipes are at risk of freezing. Frozen pipes can break, causing flooding, water damage and of course, a damaged piping system. Insulating your pipes and draining water from pipes and appliances you don’t use during the winter can help you prevent frozen pipes. But, if your pipes do freeze, there are a few things you can do to avoid further damage and get your water pressure where it should be.

Identify Frozen Pipes

If you notice a significant drop in water pressure while outside temperatures are extremely cold, you may have a frozen pipe. Start examining pipes that are exposed to cold air, looking for a section that has ice or frost on it. If the pipe is bulging, call a plumber who can safely thaw out the pipe without causing further damage and make any needed repairs.

In some cases, the frozen pipe will be behind a wall. In this situation, you can turn the heat up in your home, open your faucets, and wait to see if the pipes thaw out. If they don’t, call a plumber who provides frozen pipe repairs on Long Island.

Open Faucets

When you locate a frozen pipe, open any faucets on sinks, showers or spigots before you attempt to thaw it out. This way, the water will have somewhere to go and be able to leave your piping system as it thaws out. Failing to do this can actually cause a pipe to burst.

Use a Blow Dryer to Slowly Thaw Pipes

Use a blow dryer to slowly thaw out the frozen pipes. Hold the head of the blow dryer a few inches from the pipe and slowly move it along the frozen area. If a large section of pipes is frozen, try setting up a space heater near the pipes, but a safe distance from drywall and your plumbing system, to thaw out the frozen pipes. Wrapping an electric heating pad around a frozen pipe can also thaw it out. Never use a blowtorch or other open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

You will know the pipe is sufficiently thawed out when the open faucets start producing water at a normal water pressure. When this occurs, you can stop applying heat and continue to use your system and appliances as normal.

Finding Leaks and Burst Pipes

If you find a leak or break while you are thawing out a frozen pipe, shut off your main water valve and call a plumber immediately. Broken pipes can cause significant damage and taking action immediately can help you prevent flooding and water damage. If your pipe froze and burst before you had a chance to thaw it out, turn off the water supply and call a plumber who can repair the pipes and make sure your system is in working order.

Frozen pipes aren’t just an inconvenience; they can be dangerous and cause a lot of damage. If you find yourself with frozen pipes this winter, follow these steps to thaw them out. If you aren’t able to regain normal water pressure or if your pipes are damaged, have already burst or are behind a wall, contact us. We are a professional plumber that specializes in frozen pipe repairs on Long Island.

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