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Everything You Need to Know About Frozen Pipes: 4 Ways to Handle It

The cold snaps have forced many homeowners to hunt for insulation and space heaters, but there is something they do not realize: plumbing pipes are one of the most crucial problems to check during the winter months. Frozen pipes are one of the most dangerous and expensive problems that can lead to severe winter hazards to your property. Pipes in unheated interior spaces, such as basements, attics, and garages, are most at risk. Pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls may also freeze. However, you can keep the water running by following some simple steps.

Why are frozen pipes a Concern? 

Water has the unique characteristic of expanding when it freezes. This expansion exerts enormous pressure on everything that contains it, such as metal or plastic pipes. Regardless of how strong a container is, an increase in water pressure can cause pipes to burst. 

The pipes that freeze the most are: 

  • Outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines are examples of pipes exposed to extreme cold. 
  • Unheated indoor locations such as basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets may have water supply pipes that could freeze. 
  • Pipes that run against uninsulated or poorly insulated external walls.

Here are a few tips to keep your pipes from freezing before the winter season arrives: 

  1. Drain the water from the pool and sprinkler supply lines according to the installer’s instructions. There are several issues that antifreeze poses to the environment. Hence, do not use antifreeze in these lines unless specified. 
  2. It is best to remove, drain, and store all outdoor hoses. Close the inner valves that supply water to the hose bibs outside. Let the water drain by opening the outside hose bibs. Open the outer valve so that any remaining water in the pipe can flow without bursting it. 
  3. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces should all be insulated. Insulation will keep these areas at a higher temperature. 
  4. Inspect other spots around the house where water supply lines have been installed in unheated spots. Look under the kitchen and bathroom cupboards and in the garage. In certain areas, both hot and cold water lines should be insulated.
  5. Consider using UL-listed heat tape, heat cable, or tapes with similar material to insulate exposed water pipes, such as a pipe sleeve. Newspapers can also provide some insulation and protection to exposed pipes. Even a quarter-inch of newspaper can manage severe protection in areas exposed to low temperatures.
  6. If exposed pipes are not protected from freezing, consider moving them.

4 Ways to Unfreeze Pipes

  1.  Turn the faucet on 

Turn the faucet on and continue to use it. Allowing even a small amount of water to drip from the faucet can help prevent a pipe from exploding. Due to freezing, extreme pressure builds up between the faucet and the ice blockage. The pressure buildup is relieved by opening the faucet, which prevents a burst.

  1.  Provide heat to the frozen area 

This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You can either use a thermostatically controlled heat tape or an external heat source like a hairdryer or a space heater to wrap the pipes. Remember to not use a propane torch since it can cause fire and further damage the pipes. If you plan to use a hairdryer, start near the faucet end of the pipe and work your way up to the coldest area. Ensure you do not overheat the hairdryer and that you turn the faucet on while applying the heat. 

  1.  Continue to provide heat to the affected area 

Do not turn off the heat source until the water pressure has been restored to its original level. Do not leave the tap open for a few minutes even after the pipe has thawed.[ This will allow the ice to clear away from the line completely.

  1.  Inspect all faucets and take precautions to avoid pipes freezing in the future. 

Look for any more frozen pipes in your home by checking each faucet. One frozen pipe could indicate that other pipelines are also affected. Contact a plumber if the situation persists. By following a few simple procedures, you can keep the pipeline from freezing again: 

  • If you’re traveling, turn off the water supply before leaving.    
  • Keep all water pipes insulated with foam rubber or heating cable, especially those near outside walls. 
  • Allow air to flow by keeping cabinet doors open.

What to do if a frozen pipe bursts 

If a pipe in your home bursts, you’ll need to act quickly to avoid further damage. Turn off the water supply as soon as possible. This will assist to reduce the quantity of water that could leak through the walls. 

As a precaution, turn off the electricity in the affected area of your home. To avoid mold growth, try to remove as much water and moisture. After you’ve taken these precautions, seek professional assistance to repair the damage caused by the frozen pipes. Eco pro plumbing provides the best plumbers in Cambridge and high-quality plumbing services at a reasonable price. From sewer line repair to drain cleaning, they provide 24 hr plumber Cambridge emergency services.

Read Also: All You Need To Know About Plumbing Vents: 3 Signs It Is Clogged

Eleena Wills
Hi, I’m Eleena Wills. Being a writer and blogger, I strive to provide informative and valuable articles to people. With quality, constructive, and well-researched articles, one can make informed choices. I cover a wide range of topics, from home improvement to hair styling and automotive.
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