A frozen pipe is more likely to occur when the temperature drops. Learn everything you need to know about thawing frozen pipes in the following paragraphs.
Winter is known for heavy snowfall, cool temperatures and strong winds. However, winter can also bring costly problems, such as frozen pipes.
Exterior piles and pipes within exterior walls, as well as exposed pipes passing through unheated or uninsulated spaces such as attics or basements, are typical locations at high risk of freezing. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water and freezing damage accounts for 29.4% of all home insurance claims in the United States.
The good news is that by paying attention to the warning signs of frozen pipes, you can protect your family from unnecessary trouble and unwanted expenses.
On This blog we will tackle about:
- Signs of Frozen Pipes
- What Should I Do If I See Signs Of Frozen Pipes?
- How Long Do Pipes Freeze?
- Do Frozen Pipes Always Burst?
- Do the Pipes Defrost by themselves?
- How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
- Avoid Frozen Pipes
Signs of Frozen Pipes
Limited water: Did your kitchen leak tap water while trying to make coffee this morning? The lack of running water is one of the first signs of frozen pipes that most people notice.
Bulging Pipes: When water freezes, the water molecules expand and create tremendous pressure that can cause a pipe to bulge noticeably.
Gurgling noises: If your pipes start to “talk”, making popping or gurgling noises, this could be a sign of ice flowing through your pipes.
Condensation and Cracks: If you notice that a pipe is covered with a layer of condensation or has small surface cracks, it may be frozen.
Smelly Water: A sewer smell emanating from your faucets usually accompanies a frozen outdoor sewer line.
What Should I Do If I See Signs Of Frozen Pipes?
If you think pipes may have frozen, turn off the water. You can turn off the water throughout the house or just the part with the frozen pipes, whichever is easier to access.
How Long Do Pipes Freeze?
Pipes can freeze in as little as six to eight hours or overnight. Your chances of a frozen pipe increase when the outside temperature is below 32 degrees F and your pipes aren’t covered. According to the International Code Council, inner pipes are best protected as freezing usually occurs at temperatures of
Do Frozen Pipes Always Burst?
I like to say no. The flow of unfrozen water is always impeded by ice forming in the pipes.
All types of pipe, including those made from copper, steel, PVC, PEX and other plastics, are prone to freezing, with copper being the material most likely to break. Other polymers like PEX and PVC can freeze without necessarily cracking.
Do the Pipes Defrost by themselves?
Technically, “wait and watch” is dangerous. Any water that collects between the faucet and the ice as it begins to melt can increase the pressure in the hose. This build-up of pressure can cause frozen pipes to burst.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
First, get a mop, bucket, and any spare towels to wipe up the drips. Water bursts quickly when a frozen pipe thaws.
The frozen pipe should then slowly increase its temperature. Frozen pipes can be reheated using a variety of techniques, such as:
- Portable heater: Move away from combustible materials if necessary;
- Heating cable: attach it to the pipe and plug it into a nearby outlet;
- Electric heating pad: wrap the frozen hose and plug it into a socket;
- Hair dryer: Slowly oscillate along the frozen section of pipe;
- Towels: Soak in warm water and wrap around the frozen pipe, change when the towel cools;
- If you have an infrared lamp handy, you can use it in a pinch.
WARNING: Never use open flame devices like a propane or kerosene heater or a blowtorch to thaw your frozen pipes. Never leave heat sources unattended.
Avoid Frozen Pipes
Your pipes’ ability to avoid freezing this winter can be severely affected by even a little protection. Don’t let the pipes freeze by:
- Remove water from external water lines to relieve pressure;
- Insulation of water pipes in crawl space, basement and unheated exterior walls;
- Insulate internal pipes with sleeves to keep them above 20F;
- when temperatures drop below freezing, keep the taps open, even a trickle;
- Use space heaters in poorly insulated rooms or during very cold periods. In order to keep rooms warm longer after a heater has been switched off, close the room doors if possible.
- Ensure basements and crawl spaces are tightly closed
Frozen pipes can be difficult to deal with. You can solve your frozen pipe problem and protect your family by adopting some good heat source habits. Never leave heaters or other heat sources running unattended. Separate them when you leave the room or retire for the night. Also, never leave children or pets to play close by.