How to locate a frozen pipe and what to do when you find it.If you live in an area that is prone towards freezing cold winters you need to take the proper precautions now to avoid having a frozen pipe problem later on. |
Pipes can freeze for a variety of reasons including sudden cold snaps, improper insulation or just an inadequate heat source.
There are some things you can do to help preserve your pipes that are simple and cost effective. For example you can leave your faucets dripping just a little and open the cabinet doors under your sinks so the warmer air in your home can circulate to your plumbing. You should also make sure your pipes are insulated with either foam wrap or electric heating tape applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid the possibility of frozen pipes down the road.
If you think your pipes are frozen there is a quick and easy way to confirm it. First, try turning on your water from different taps. If you have water at one source but not another you have probably located the area that’s frozen. If you don’t have water at any source you may have a frozen main water line leading to your house. Unfortunately if it is your main water line you may not be able to fix it yourself. The main water line is buried beneath the frost zone and if yours is frozen you may have to have it reburied deeper.
If you are able to locate the source of your frozen pipe you will need to find the pipe before it burst. This can be easier said than done because pipes are laid behind walls, in crawl spaces, attics and basements. You will need to know where your piping is or have a contractor who is familiar with plumbing to help you locate the frozen pipe.
If you do locate it, you may be able to identify it by touch or sight alone. It may be ice cold to the touch compared to the other pipes or it may have ice forming on it.
Inspect the suspected pipe for cracks or bulging. If the pipe is bulging it may be ready to burst from the built up pressure of the expanding ice and this means you will have hundreds of gallons of water doing massive damage very quickly unless you act fast.
If the pipe is located behind a wall or in the ceiling you can try turning up the heat in the home to warm up your pipes. If you can access the pipe by removing the wall or ceiling section you can try to unthaw the pipe directly by using a blow dryer to heat the pipe up. If you use a blow dryer make sure to move the heat back and forth and don’t concentrate your efforts to much in one area to avoid doing more damage. Remember prevention is the key to avoiding frozen pipes in the first place.
If your house has trouble with a frozen pipe, Providence professionals are ready to help you. For more information visit http://www.purocleanRI.com
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