Even if you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent your pipes from freezing, sometimes the unexpected happens. Maybe a major storm knocked out power for several hours, causing the temperature in your home to drop and your pipes to freeze. Or maybe you left home for a few days, making sure to set your thermostat to a reasonable temperature to prevent freezing, and your furnace malfunctioned and did not heat your home properly.
Whatever the reason, frozen pipes should be a major concern, as this can cause physical damage your pipes and require repairs, and also because they can lead to some serious water damage in your home. Whenever you have frozen pipes, you should get to work to thaw the pipes as soon as possible to prevent damage to both the pipe and your home.
Here’s how to thaw frozen pipes yourself:
Open The Faucets
Remember to first open the faucet on the frozen pipe to allow any steam or water to escape to prevent further damage to the pipe as you heat the pipe and melt the ice inside. If you can’t thaw the pipe yourself or you cant access the location of the frozen pipe, you should call a licensed plumber to help.
Use Electrical Heat Tape
This specially designed electric heat tape is used to wrap around the pipe to slowly thaw the pipe. Make sure to use heat tape certified by a national testing laboratory, and follow all directions carefully. Never double-wrap the tape as this can cause overheating and lead to a fire.
Soak With Hot Water
This method only works if you have running water and the ability to heat water. Essentially, you should wrap the frozen pipe with several towels or cloths and pour hot water over the material. After the water cools, you’ll want to repeat the process several times until the pipe is thawed. This is a method that just about anyone can use on short notice.
Use Direct Heat
Applying direct heat to the frozen pipe can help encourage thawing. Using a heat lamp, electric hair dryer, space heater, or other direct heating source, direct the heat onto the pipe. Only use electrical means when it is safe to do so, and when the ground is dry.
For extra protection, plug the appliance into a GFCI protected outlet. Do not use anything with an open flame including a blowtorch or propane or kerosene heater, and don’t use direct heat if the water pipe is near a gas line.
With any of these methods, it’s important to keep an eye on the frozen pipe for any signs of leaking or damage to the pipe that can lead to water damage once the blockage is gone.
The expansion that occurs when water turns to ice can cause pipes to rupture, or can damage seams or seals nearby. If you do experience water damage resulting from a broken pipe, call Regent Restoration at (214) 731-4624.