So You Have Frozen Pipes, What do you do?


Nothing is quite as frustrating as waking up on a cold winter day to find that no water is emerging from the taps. This is a sign that one or more pipes have frozen.  Before letting the issue cause a panic in the household, it pays to step back and spend a little time learning how to thaw frozen pipes.

Narrow the Search for the Frozen Pipe

Knowing how to thaw frozen pipes requires understanding just how widespread the problem happens to be. In many cases, it may be a single section of pipe that is frozen.  Take the time to go around to every tap and open them to see if water emerges.  If all but one or two taps run normally, then it will be easier to identify the general location of the frozen pipe.

When the taps connected to the frozen section of pipe are identified, be sure to leave them open.  This will help alleviate pressure on the pipes and allow the water to escape as the ice begins to melt.

Applying Heat to the Affected Area

To hasten the melting process, it pays to add some heat to the area around the frozen pipe.  The goal is to gradually melt the ice rather than using extreme methods that could damage the pipe.  For example, applying a heating pad to the pipe will slowly increase the temperature and begin to produce a trickle of water out of the nearby tap.  Setting up a space heater near the pipe will also help.  Avoid using methods like flames applied directly to the pipe, even if happens to be composed of metal.  This will decrease the chances of causing any actual damage.

Monitoring the Progress

Check on the status of the pipe every half-hour or so.  What the homeowner hopes to see is that the trickle of water emerging from the tap is increasing.  Once the water pressure seems to be normal, it is safe to assume that the ice is completely melted.  At that point, it is fine to shut off the tap.

Remember that during these periodic inspections, it is important to check the condition of the pipe.  As the ice melts, it will be easier to determine if any damage did occur to the pipe.  This can be detected by the presence of water beginning to leak off the pipe, or possibly the sound of water being pushed out of the pipe by the pressure in the system.  With either scenario, locate the cut-off valve for the water supply, turn off the flow of water, and call a professional for help.

Knowing how to thaw frozen pipes is only part of the process of protecting the integrity of the plumbing system.  Learn to recognize when the pipes are in need of attention by a plumbing professional and do not hesitate to make a call to the team at A Marco Plumbing.  Doing so will ensure that the pipes are replaced quickly, and that no area of the house sustains any type of water damage.