We have had a few calls about frozen water pipes and I have had some frozen pipes in the out buildings at my house. We have had some cold winter weather so far and it is likely we will have more below zero temperatures before winter is over. It seems like some information about thawing frozen pipes may be a timely subject for a blog.
Of course, the best way to avoid having frozen water pipes is to take some precautions in the fall. Adding insulation to the walls, directly insulating pipes or simply draining water lines not used in the winter will prevent some frozen pipes. However, in spite of these precautions, sometimes pipes freeze anyway.
If you find a frozen pipe in your home, you have several options. First, you can call a plumber to have a professional help. They do have experience and can keep the problem from getting worse. If you really want to tackle the problem, follow these suggestions.
- Shut off the main water valve. Be sure to follow this first step to prevent a disaster if the frozen lines are worse than you thought.
- Start thawing the line near the faucet.
- Gradually raise the temperature of the water line. You can do this by adding heat from any number of sources. You can use a hair dryer, space heater, heat lamp, or even towels soaked in hot water and wrapped around the line.
- Never use an open flame to thaw a water line. Why risk adding a house fire to your problems?
- If there is any chance that the water line has burst, open other faucets to allow the line to drain rather than run out through the broken line.
- Keep some buckets or other containers handy, as you may need to collect water from the break in the line.
With luck, your line will thaw without any damage to the waterline. We were fortunate enough to have this situation happen on our farm.