Posted in Blog  
  on Nov 26, 2014

How Do You Fix Frozen Pipes

Despite the best efforts of a tenant or a home owner, sometimes very cold weather can cause even the best pipes to freeze. When this happens, the issue can be fixed, but it is going to take some time. The first thing that must happen is that the frozen pipe must be accessed for the repair. You may need to climb up into the attic, access a pipe in your foundation, or open up a wall.

1. Open Up a Faucet


You're going to have some steam produced within the pipe as you begin to work on it. By opening up a faucet, you'll let the steam escape and prevent further damage from occurring. Make sure that you've turned off the water supply to that faucet before opening it up so that you don't cause the pipe to burst.

2. Check For Any Damage


Before you can begin the thawing process, it is important to look for damage to the pipe. If you have damage and begin thawing out the pipes without fixing that damage, then you'll create water damage that could affect the integrity of your home. If you don't see any leaks, then it is fine to start thawing. If there are potential leaks, then it is time to start fixing.



3. Fix the Burst Pipe as Soon as You Can


Copper and plastic pipes are fused at the joints. You'll need solder and joint compound to replace the broken section of pipe. If you have steel pipes, then you are in luck because a couple threaded clamps and a new section of pipe can complete the repair in just a few minutes in some instances if you replace an entire section. You may need to call a plumber if you need to add threading to your pipes.

4. Emergency Repairs Will By You Time


As long as you have some rubber on-hand, you've got the ability to make an emergency repair. Use the rubber to clamp around the burst section of pipe and then secure it using pipe clamps. Garden hose, a radiator hose, or even just a neoprene sleeve can provide a temporary stop-gap measure when you don't have access to professional plumbing services or a hardware store.



5. Start Thawing Out the Pipes When you Are Certain That There Are No Major Leaks Remaining in the Frozen Pipe


You've got a number of options available to you to help begin thawing the pipe. You can wrap it with insulation, apply heat directly to it, or even put blankets around it. Water will start to come out of the pipe and faucet as the frozen water begins to thaw. Start at the faucet point and then move your way outward.

6. Be Careful with PVC Pipe


Copper pipe can take some heat, but PVC plumbing is generally pretty sensitive to high levels of heat. Try using a hair dryer to heat up a frozen PVC pipe to get it running again. A space heater is also a viable alternative as long as the heating element is not placed too close to the plumbing or other flammable items.

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