One of the most common problems get called out for in the winter is frozen pipes. The main problem is people try to defrost them to quickly or incorrectly and actually cause damage to the pipes themselves. If you follow this guide you will find the quickest and easiest way to defrost your pipes without causing damage to water system.
Hopefully by the end of the article you will also understand how to prevent your pipes from freezing in future.
Thawing A Frozen Pipe
The most common symptoms of a frozen pipe are in the winter months you go to open a Faucet and no water comes out. Chances are ice will be blocking the plumbing somewhere along the line. This stage you need to thought out but soaring methods depend on exactly where the ice is going to be located.
Thawing Exposed Pipes
The first thing you need to do is turn off the mains water supply. After you’ve done this the next thing you need to do is release the pressure by opening the faucet. The main reason that you need to do this is because there is still a small chance that the pipe has split from being frozen. If when thawed, the mains water is still connected you will have a mad panic trying to close off the water supply to stop it.
The easiest way to start thawing the pipe is to slowly heat it. This can be done by using a hairdryer, a portable heater or even strong heat lamp. However you should never use a raw flame to heat a frozen pipe. Simply start moving from the faucet moving slowly towards the frozen area. Move along the pipe and do not linger in one too long.
Frozen Pipes Inside Walls
These types of frozen pipes can be particularly hard to deal with. The reason being is they generally sealed and getting to the pipes may cause damage to Walls. However, the easiest way to deal with frozen pipe behind a wall is turn the heating up as high as it goes and simply wait. However, if you have the tools then you could get an infrared lamp and hold it up against the wall where the pipe runs. This does take the fast enough time and in all honesty I recommend against it in this you have the time on your hands.
Frozen Underground Pipes
There are a couple of ways of dealing with underground frozen pipes but don’t think straightaway you need to dig down to them to thaw them out.
There is a method that you can move an ice blockage from directly inside the pipe. This method however does require some level of skill and tools.
Using a submersible water pump lower into a 5 gallon bucket of water. You next they need to attach ¼ inch icemaker tubing to the pump with its appropriate fitting. From the simply attach a 4 to 5 foot piece of flexible tubing into the pipe in question.
You then need to feed the ice making tubing down the pipes until you find the blockage. Once you reach the blockage you need to start pumping a steady stream of the water directly at the blockage. The blockage will run back down the pipe and into the bucket. When the tubing can move freely you know the blockage is clear. You simply pull achieving out to the pipe and turn the mains water back on.
Prevent Frozen Pipes Before They Happen
As in most cases prevention is better than needing a cure. If you are certain that you are due for a very cold spell, then there are a few preventative measures the can take if you are certain the pipes are likely to be frozen over. If you have a particularly vulnerable waterline, then my recommendation is just two pop the tap a small way so there is a constant trickle of water that is allowed to run. Moving water is much less likely to freeze than still water.
For rooms that get particularly cold try and run some sort of heating in those rooms overnight and leave the pipes open to the elements so they can stay relatively warm in comparison to the outside. If you have piping on outside walls that is highly recommended you get some insulation for these pipes. It is available fairly cheaply from most hardware stores.
Last but not least keep your thermostat set to at least 55° at all times during the cold spell. While you may be concerned about the heating costs for this they will be far less than having to deal with a frozen pipe especially if it gets damaged.