Preventing & Thawing Frozen Pipes

Posted By The Eco Plumbers

15 Jan. 2015

Whether you're away from home when freezing temperatures hit or you've forgotten to leave the faucets dripping, a frozen pipe can lead to it bursting and flooding your home. Preventing frozen pipes in Columbus, Ohio, is a fairly simple maintenance routine that should be part of your home winterization. Knowing how to thaw a pipe that's accidentally been left exposed to the elements can save you time and money in potential damage.

Pipes that are most at risk for becoming frozen include those located on the exterior of your home in a sink or spigot and those located in crawlspaces, basements, and attic spaces that are unheated. Galvanized pipes found in older homes are more likely to freeze than newer models. For your reference, we've outlined below the ways to prevent frozen pipes and thaw them out in winter.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  1. Keep a close eye on weather reports. As soon as the weather starts to dip below freezing, you'll need to make sure your prevention methods are in place.
  2. Insulate the pipes. Wrapping pipes and outdoor spigots in insulation can protect against freezing. To do so, clean your pipes first and allow them to dry. Foil and fiberglass insulation are both good choices for winterization. Wrap the insulation with a slight overlap and secure with a sturdy tape. Make sure you insulate both hot and cold water lines during this process.
  3. Close outdoor leading vents. Vents that might be in your crawlspace or attic should be closed in winter time to prevent the cold from seeping in.
  4. Close your garage doors. When the weather is below freezing, your garage is another way that heat can escape and pipes can become frozen.
  5. Drain hoses and pools.
  6. Install a heat sleeve. If you anticipate freezing temperatures over a longer period of time, installing a product near the pipes that will keep them warmer 24/7 might be a good idea. Heating products specifically made to protect pipes include sleeves, cables, or tapes.
  7. Open cabinets. If you heat your home with a central fireplace or wood burning stove, other areas of your home might be susceptible to freezing temperatures. Opening cabinets that face the exterior of your home, in particular, will allow for the circulation of warmer air and decrease the odds of frozen pipes.
  8. Don't leave your home and turn off the thermostat. Leave your home thermostat set at least at 55 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the likelihood of indoor pipes freezing.
  9. Let your faucets drip. Letting your faucets drip slowly throughout the freezing spell can reduce the amount of pressure on pipes and decrease the chance of your pipes bursting.

Thawing Frozen Pipes

  1. Keep all faucets open so that when the ice starts to melt, the running water can help melt more ice.
  2. Look for any additional frozen pipes around your home.
  3. Apply heat. Using a heating pad, hairdryer, or other heat source, keep constant heat on the pipes until the water melts. You'll need to continue applying heat until your water pressure returns to normal. Do not use a source of open flame to thaw your pipes.

If you can't find the frozen pipe or you run into other difficulties, contact a professional plumbing service in Columbus like The Eco Plumbers.

Categories: Seasonal Tips, Pipes
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