How Can You Tell If Your Pipes Are Frozen?

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Frozen pipes can be a problem in areas of the country where the temperatures drop to levels below freezing during the winter. Knowing how to identify frozen pipes and what to do about them can help you take care of your home and prevent winter plumbing problems.

How can you tell if your pipes are frozen?

If your pipes are frozen, your first indication will likely be a lack of water coming from the spigot when you turn on the affected faucet in the morning. You might get a tiny trickle of water, or nothing at all. If this happens, look for the section of frozen pipe. Look under the cabinet, in the basement or crawl space, and behind wall panels. The frozen section of the pipe will likely be frosted over and will feel icy to the touch.

What can you do to fix a frozen pipe?

This depends on whether or not the pipe has burst. If the pipe looks like it's intact, simply thaw the pipe. If the pipe has burst, you'll see an opening or a seam in the frozen section of the pipe. The best thing you can do is to turn off the water to the pipe, put a bucket under the broken section of pipe, and call the plumbing company to have them make the repair.

How can you thaw the pipe?

There are multiple effective ways to thaw a frozen pipe. Here are a few:

  • Drape the pipe with hot, wet towels.
  • Plug in a space heater nearby.
  • Heat up the pipe with a blow dryer.

How can you prevent the pipe from freezing again?

At night when freezing temperatures have been forecast, run a small trickle of water in the faucets of your home. This is especially important for faucets connected to pipes that run around the outside walls of the house, because these pipes tend to get the coldest. It also helps to keep the heat on in your home, even when you're not going to be there. Finally, insulate your pipes. Pipe insulation sold in hardware stores and home improvement centers is often form-fitting and self-adhesive, which makes it easy to install. Simply cut down each piece of insulation to fit the length of each pipe. Insulation will help protect the pipes from very low temperatures.

Following these tips can help you handle frozen pipes and avoid problems in the future. For more tips and advice, talk to a representative from a reputable plumbing company in your area. 

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24 December 2015

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