Oh no! You turned on your faucet, and only a small amount of water comes out. Do you have frozen pipes?
If you do, knowing what you should do to thaw your pipes and what might actually do more harm than good can mean the difference between a small water damage problem and a large water damage loss.
Here are some tips to help you locate the frozen pipe and how to thaw it to prevent damage to the pipe and to get water flowing again:
If you turn the faucet on in one room and think you have frozen pipes, check all the other faucets in your home. If it’s cold enough for one faucet to freeze, it’s possible that there are multiple frozen pipes. It’s a good idea to get an understanding of the scale of the problem before you get started.
Once you know how bad it is, you can begin thawing the pipes yourself, or call a professional who can locate and thaw the pipes for you.
If you know what you are doing or are only dealing with a single frozen pipe, you may be able to handle the task yourself.
First, you’ll need to locate the area of the pipe that is frozen. This will generally be near exterior walls, or where your water supply line enters your home. You may also have frozen pipes in the basement, crawlspace, attic, or other area that is generally not heated.
Open the faucet to allow water to escape, and once the water is flowing again, water running through the pipe can help melt remaining ice. To thaw the pipe, you’ll need to safely apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad designed to wrap around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a space heater to raise the temperature. You can also wrap towels soaked in hot water around the pipe to encourage thawing.
If you are unable to locate or access the frozen pipe, or despite your best efforts are unable to thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber for help. You may want to shut off your water supply until the pipe can be thawed to prevent additional damage.
If you are thawing frozen pipes yourself, never use a blowtorch or a kerosene or propane heater. Open flames should be avoided. If you are using a space heater, you need to be sure to keep it away from flammable materials, and monitor it closely to prevent a fire.
Once your pipes are thawed and water is flowing again, be sure to keep an eye on the affected area to make sure the ice didn’t cause any damage to the pipe. If you notice leaking or signs of water damage, shut off the main water supply until you can have the pipe inspected and repaired. If there is extensive water damage, call a water damage restoration company like Regent Restoration to help.
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