We have been receiving many calls about frozen pipes so we pulled together some helpful tips.
Ways to tell if the your pipes are frozen
- Faucets may not have any water coming out. Now how’s that for an obvious tip!
- There might be hot water coming out but not cold or the opposite, cold but not hot.
- It can also be just one fixture in a house that is affected and may just seem to be a problem with that fixture.
- You may see frost on the outside of the pipe.
- There will be a change in your plumbing system and it usually happens over night or when the fixtures are not being used for a long period of time.
- It usually happens when there has been a sudden change in temperature and there is a steady wind.
Ways to prevent pipes from freezing when we have cold snaps and steady winds
- Keep all rooms in your home at the same temperature.
- Make sure your pipes are well insulated and shielded from any potential breezes.
- Check your home for cracks that may allow a breeze to affect the pipe. Cracks in bricks, mortar, siding and drywall can easily let the cold air in.
- Keep garage doors shut as much as possible (pipes can freeze in minutes).
- Run all fixtures and taps in the home a couple times a day even for 10-15 seconds just to keep the water moving.
- Open cupboard doors where piping is located to get it to room temperature.
In extreme cases, keep the taps at a trickle. Water that is moving has a less of a chance to freeze.
Ways to unfreeze pipes without using open flame or a thawing machine
- Turn the heat in the home up by about 10 degrees or close to 80 degrees and wait. Make sure to leave the fixture open so the water will run when it starts to thaw.
- If you have any fixtures working in the home, turn both the cold and hot water on fully and this can help radiate heat through the lines and loosen the ice block. Remember to open the tap or fixture that is affected and keep an eye on it.
- If you know where the blockage is and can get to it safely, use a hair dryer on the pipe (be careful as they may become very hot).
- Space heaters may need to be used in such places like crawl spaces and under kitchen cupboards. Again be careful and monitor closely.
What to do when pipes start to work again.
- Run the fixture until the flow looks normal.
- Check for any leaks or breaks that may have happened. Look and listen in case it’s happened behind the walls.
- If you notice any leaks, make sure you shut off your home’s main water shut off to stop any further damage. Then call a plumber.
- It is more than likely that this will happen again so it’s a good idea to find the source or reason why the pipe froze and take care of it.
What a broken pipe looks like from freezing
It can be split length ways down the pipe or the fitting will have popped right off.
A couple of recent calls we received:
We had a customer that had a shower and a sink on the second floor where just the hot was not working and the cold was working fine. We asked them to run the hot water everywhere in the home while keeping the taps opens that are not working. They ran the hot for about 5-7 minutes called us back and we advised them to wait and give it about 30 minutes to work and then call back. They called back only about 10 minutes later and all was running perfect. We advised them to make sure there were no leaks in the home.
Another call for a customer that thought they were having an issue with their kitchen faucet because the cold side was not working. We had this customer leave their cabinets open and turn the heat up in the home. They opened the taps and waited. About four hours later they called back and all was fine and there was no leak.
For more helpful plumbing tips visit here.