How To Deal With Frozen Pipes

Many small icicles have frozen on a rusty pipe in the street in
Many small icicles have frozen on a rusty pipe in the street in the winter

The Monday blues can make you feel down on Mondays, particularly if you’re returning to routine work. You leap out of bed and head to the kitchen. There was a hard freeze last night, and all you want is hot coffee. You turn on the faucet handle, but it occurs to you that you’ll have to brave the weather. There’s no water, and you don’t know why, but your pipes may have been frozen during the night.

Water freezes, which causes expansion. This puts immense pressure on whatever material it passes through such as plastic or metal pipes. Despite being of great strength, frozen water can damage pipes due to expansion.

Many pipes freeze because of:

  • Exposure to extreme cold. For example, open-air Silcock, pool supply, and water sprayer pipes.
  • Unheated water supply lines. For example, in garages, lofts, hollow areas under the floors of some houses, and kitchen cupboards.
  • Pipes that aren’t insulated. They’re susceptible to freezing if they run against external walls.

Do you know any quick ways to unfreeze a frozen pipe, especially if you’re rushing to leave for work? Despite how often you’ve handled frozen pipes, thawing them out isn’t a walk in the park. Here are three tips on how you can deal with frozen pipes:

Are The Frozen Pipes Enclosed? That Can Be Handled

If the pipes are frozen and located or enclosed in hard-to-reach places, there are a few alternatives you can try to thaw them.

  • Increase the heat inside your house. It’s possible to unfreeze your frozen pipes by raising the temperature in your house. Switching your thermostat might be the magic wand needed to unfreeze the ice block.
  • Use electric gadgets that produce infrared radiation. You can try to thaw a frozen pipe by directing an infrared light at the enclosed pipe area. But you should do this if you’re sure where the pipe is running through exactly in the house. The emitted heat will pierce through the wall and thaw the pipe.

If an enclosed pipe freezes and bursts, removing part of the wall may make repairing it easier. Keep in mind that a quick DIY solution might not fix such a mess. The pros should be your next port of call. If that happens, frozen and burst pipe repair by reliable plumbers may save the day.

Apply Heat On The Parts Of The Pipe That Are Frosty

It’s an easy DIY solution. You may use a hair dryer to heat the frozen parts or an electric heat pad to wrap around the pipe. A towel drenched in hot water may also be helpful if you don’t have these items. Although this is only a short-term solution, be careful with electric heat pads. To avoid a fire outbreak, they shouldn’t be left unsupervised.

There are a few things you shouldn’t do when applying heat to unfreeze your frozen pipes. Don’t use a blowlamp, combustible hydrocarbon gases, a kerosene heater, or a stove that uses charcoal or open-flame appliances. Accidental fires are more likely to occur as a result. If you opt to use a space heater, handle it with care. Any flammable materials in the area might cause a serious fire hazard. Space heaters shouldn’t be left unsupervised.

A Thaw Machine Can Come In Handy

A thaw machine is a mobile appliance that allows plumbers to unfreeze pipes. It works like an electric automobile battery with booster cables on either end. You connect one end to a thawed pipe and the other end to the frozen part. Turn on the machine, sit down, and relax while it unfreezes.

A thaw machine distributes low voltage, high-current electrical energy throughout the pipe. The warm water flows through the ice as the freezing parts start to melt. This aids the unfreezing process. Below, water will gush from the tap within minutes as soon as the thawing machine is switched on. Thaw machines can unfreeze up to 170 ft. of copper or iron pipes and are usable in any plumbing scenario.

So, what’s the advantage of a thawing machine? You’ll have to pay a professional plumber to maintain the machine. But it’ll save you the time and resources required to break into walls—or worse if a pipe bursts behind the wall. Then, you’ll have to fork out a significant amount of money for repairs and replacements.

Final Thoughts

Freezing winter temperatures and chilly nights can trigger pipes to freeze—in the worst-case scenario, break. As temperatures drop, the chance of pipes freezing and bursting goes up. Some of the best tips for dealing with frozen pipes are explained above.

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