Cold weather can cause much damage to ones water pipes at home. This previous winter season particularly was a rough one for lots of people with dealing with frozen water pipes. Frozen pipes can crack or rupture since as water freezes, it broadens. With adequate growth, pipes will certainly establish fractures. The fractures could not show up however they will certainly leak nevertheless when the ice melts. If a frozen area of pipe is caught in time, there might be no damage; but it has to be thawed prior to any more freezing occurs. Safeguarding pipes from freezing is the best strategy, but if you are reading this, then that will certainly have to take a backseat to defrosting the frozen pipes. To find out how to prevent pipes freezing in the first place.
Warning: Kindly read our safety information before trying any testing, upkeep or repairs. Some equipment could count on a cold water supply and suffer damage without it.
If there is a slow trickle at the faucet, leave the faucet open. The streaming water will assist to prevent a complete frozen clog. In addition, the streaming water might help to melt the existing partial clog. Continue with the following steps to make sure the pipes thaw entirely.
Find the Frozen Pipe
The initial step to thaw frozen pipes is to locate the section of pipe and turn off the local water supply to it. To determine whether a section of pipeline is frozen, merely feel it. Frozen pipeline will certainly feel very cold, while pipe with free flowing water will certainly feel especially warmer. Try to find a piping through which water is still flowing to utilize as a contrast. After a couple minutes of running, the piping needs to be around 50 degrees or so. If you have an infrared thermometer, it makes discovering frozen pipes simple.
If there is no water at any of the taps in your house, the main water line could be frozen somewhere between the meter and where the water line goes into your house. Usually this line is buried, and buried at the locally mandated depth to shield it from freezing. There is little to be done to thaw a buried water line. The only strategy is to rebury the line deeper, below the frost line, to make sure against future freezes.
In severe freezes, there may be numerous frozen areas of pipeline in various vulnerable locations. The first point to inspect is where the water line comes out of the ground and where it enters your house. Any exposed pipe is vulnerable if it is exposed to outdoors air, even if it is in your attic, unconditioned basement or crawlspace.
Exterior walls, even when insulated, could get cold sufficient to freeze pipes inside the wall. Pipes that pass near an exterior vent in your home go through cold air and are a great place to start hunting. If there is no water in only one part of your house, then the frozen piping is probably in an outside wall, attic, crawl space or basement.
As soon as you locate the frozen section, if the piping is accessible, inspect it visually and by running your fingers over the pipe to feel for fractures or splits. If you discover damage, you may wish to get repair materials ready prior to defrosting the pipe. If the piping is not accessible, continue reading for methods to take care of hard to reach pipes.
Prior to you start the thawing procedure, open water taps on the frozen line to permit water, steam or pressure to get away. This will certainly enable water to drain out as the ice melts and will certainly inform you if you have succeeded in melting the obstruction.
How you warm the pipeline relies on the type of pipe and the area. However in all cases start nearby the tap and work outward. Never ever heat a pipe with direct flame or boiling water. Heating a pipe too quickly can result in bursting, damage and injury.
How to Thaw Plastic Pipes
Available pipes can be heated up with a hair clothes dryer. Keep the dryer moving and do not concentrate it on any one place too long.
Hot wet rags can be made use of to heat pipes. Simply immerse a rag in hot water (about 110 degrees F) and cover it around the piping. Change the rag when it cools.
A grounded, water resistant heating pad can be wrapped around the pipeline and readied to the lowest heat setting.
How to Thaw Metal Pipes
While a flame can be utilized to heat easily accessible copper or steel pipes, it is not recommended to use a direct flame on any pipeline as this increases the risk of damage to the pipe along with presenting a fire risk. Never heat up the pipe any warmer than you can conveniently put up with holding the piping bare handed and always use a flame spreader to diffuse the flame. Never utilize a flame on plastic pipe.
If you are in the Indianapolis area, we suggest contacting our friends at 317 Plumbing with concerns on handling frozen pipes or for help in an emergency situation.