What to Do When You Have a Frozen Water Line

During the cold winters we frequently experience in Pittsburgh, there is a chance that you may experience frozen pipes. Serving the area as your top local plumbers, Restano Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing has put together some tips for dealing with frozen pipes this winter.

How to Tell That Your Pipes are Frozen

One of the most obvious signs that your pipes are frozen is when you turn your faucet on full blast, and only a trickle of water or no water comes out. If this issue occurs and the temperature outside is below freezing, you should take action immediately. If you have one frozen pipe, there may be other frozen pipes in the home, so it is essential to test all faucets in the house.

Pipes under the sink, in the basement, and outside the house are visible pipes that are easier to discover they are frozen because often frost or a slight bulge will appear. If the frozen area is exposed, you will have more options when defrosting the frozen area than an enclosed pipe. If frozen pipes aren’t resolved quickly, they can lead to burst pipes and costly water damage.

How to Thaw Pipes

Enclosed Pipes

If the frozen pipe is located behind a wall, you can use a few different methods to dethaw the enclosed frozen pipe. Before you begin to dethaw the frozen pipe, make sure to take proper safety precautions. Never try to defrost the frozen pipe area with an open flame because it can cause unwanted damage to the pipe and your home.

  • Infrared Lamp: After identifying where the frozen pipe is located in the enclosed wall, you can place an infrared lamp in front of the wall to attempt to dethaw the frozen area. Hopefully, the heat from the lamp can seep through the wall to defrost the frozen pipe.
  • Increase Home Temperature: You can increase the heat temperature in your home by turning up the thermostats. Increasing the temperature in your home might be enough to dethaw the pipe blockage area.
  • Cut Out Wall: If you feel comfortable, you can cut a small hole in your drywall to expose the blockage area. Then you can dethaw the pipe using one of the various methods explained above or below.

Exposed Pipes

If the frozen pipe area is exposed, work your way from the faucet to the frozen area, slowly applying heat. Here are a few methods you can try. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or any open flame.

  • Hairdryer: Using a hairdryer to dethaw frozen pipes is an easy way to increase normal water flow. Before operating the electrical device, take proper precautions and avoid coming into contact with any water while using the blowdryer. Start at the area closest to the faucet and work your way to the end of the frozen blockage.
  • Warm Towel: Another option is to dip towels in hot water. Place the towels on the frozen blockage area to try to draw the frozen pipe.
  • Space Heater: Turn on your space heater, direct it to the area of the frozen pipe. This indirect method will heat the air around the pipe, hopefully dethawing the area. Make sure you take proper safety precautions and avoid exposing the electrical appliance to water.

Risk of Pipe Dethawing

When attempting to dethaw frozen pipes in your home, always be cautious of two main risks. The first is starting a fire. When using a heat source to dethaw pipes, do not leave the area unattended and read all safety instructions. The second is pipe bursting if the dethawing process is not done correctly. Always start the dethawing process from the faucet area; if you are not confident in dethawing the waterline in your home call, your trusted local plumbers for assistance!

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Burst Pipes

After discovering that your pipes are frozen, you can:

  • Shut off your main water line: This will spot the water flow to the frozen pipe before it can begin leaking or bursts.
  • Release the pressure in the pipe: Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe to help relieve the pressure in the pipe. This gives the water from the frozen part of the pipe space to move when the pipe thaws.

What if the Pipe Bursts?

If the frozen pipe burst quickly, shut off the main water supply to avoid further water damage. If you are unsure where your main water shut-off valve is located, make sure to have your local plumbing company go over safety tips during their next visit.

Pittsburgh Plumbing Service

If you are uncomfortable locating or defrosting your frozen pipes on your own, contact your local Pittsburgh plumbing company for assistance. Our registered plumbers at Restano Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are trained to locate and dethaw frozen pipes. If you are looking for “pipe repairs near me,” look no further. Call Restano Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing to take care of your frozen pipes with 24/7 emergency plumbing services; you can prevent damage from burst pipes and get your pipes back in working order. Contact us today to learn more.

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