Winter weather brings with it plenty of hassles for homeowners, and frozen pipes are at the top of the list. Even in areas where winters are not as harsh, pipes can still freeze and lead to costly water damage and plumbing repairs.
Whether you want to take a proactive approach to prevent frozen pipes this season or you are dealing with a pipe icicle emergency now, we have the steps to help you thaw out your pipes and return your plumbing to optimal working order.
Related Topic: Winter Home Maintenance Checklist
What Causes Frozen Pipes?
When the temperature outside drops below 32°F, water in your plumbing will freeze if the pipes are not insulated or in a heated room. Because water expands as it freezes, exterior plumbing with water inside can expand to the point of bursting. If this happens, you may be dealing with extensive water damage to your property.
It’s important to know that homes in milder climates are also at risk for frozen pipes. Even a few nights of subfreezing temperatures can be enough to create a burst pipe nightmare no homeowner wants to face.
5 Steps to Fix Frozen Water Pipes
A few signs you might have frozen pipes include a water line that is bulging or coated in frost and water not flowing freely through your faucets. Toilet not refilling after a flush? That’s another sign indicating frozen pipes. The sooner you thaw them, the greater chance you have of preventing burst pipes and water damage.
Here are 5 steps to fix frozen water pipes:
Before doing anything, shut off the water supply. The frozen water may be acting like a plug, preventing water from spilling out of the cracks. Once the ice melts, it could pour out into your home. Turning the water supply off first will minimize the mess after thawing.
Open up all faucets and water outlets in the home. No water coming out of them means it’s likely the area surrounding the water meter or well pump has frozen.
If you notice water running from one faucet and not another, you may have an isolated frozen pipe. In this case, you can turn on the faucet connected to the pipe and make sure the hot water is on and the cold water is off.
When the ice has thawed enough to allow water to flow through the once-frozen pipe, turn all other faucets on so there is a trickle of water.
Other methods to thaw out the frozen pipes include using a heat lamp or hairdryer on a low setting. But avoid using a blow torch or boiling water, which can damage the pipe.
If you are trying to determine how to fix frozen bathroom pipes, the process will be the same. During the thawing process, it’s a good idea to have a bucket, mop, and towels handy in case there is a leak or spill of melted ice.
Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes
Once you’ve experienced the stress of a frozen pipe situation, you’ll want to make sure you never have to deal with it again. Here’s how to prevent frozen pipes in the future:
Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor water spigots before winter begins.
Open a faucet attached to an at-risk pipe to allow a slight trickle of cold water to flow overnight when temps are the coldest.
Open any under-sink cabinets to keep warm air circulating around those pipes.
Keep the thermostat set higher than 55 degrees, even if you are out of town.
Install insulation on any exposed pipes on exterior walls.
Related Topic: How to Prevent Frozen Pipes Before It’s Too Late
Need Some Help from the Pros?
Depending on where you live cold weather and freezing temperatures may be something you have to deal with for several months. Following these steps can help you resolve an issue with a frozen pipe before it bursts and causes damage. However, If you still can’t thaw your frozen pipes after following these steps, your local Mr. Handyman can help. We have the tools and expertise to fix frozen pipes and prevent them from happening in the future.
Our team has experience in all areas of home maintenance and repair. Plus, when you choose us, you also get the Neighborly Done Right Promise, which ensure your 100% satisfaction. Give us a call at (877) 685-1377 or request plumbing service online.