Frozen Pipes – Prevention and Thawing
The cold temperatures of winter bring with them the chilly fun of snowmen and sledding, but they also bring the danger of frozen pipes. When it’s cold outside, it’s smoking crack important to take preventative measures to keep your pipes from freezing. And, if they’ve frozen already, you need to get them thawed quickly, before they burst and ruin your wintry fun!
Especially if you have outside pipes, plumbing located in external walls, or pipes in unheated spaces, you need to be extra careful. Several simple steps can help prevent frozen pipes. First, if you have vulnerable plumbing, just leave the faucet dripping at a slight trickle. The moving water won’t be able to freeze solid, negating the danger of burst pipes. The second basic precaution is simply to keep your pipes warm. This can be achieved in many different ways, from installing a portable heater near problem pipes or in unheated areas like crawlspaces to wrapping pipes in insulation.
Once you’ve put precautions in place, be sure to routinely inspect your plumbing. A frozen pipe is obvious if no water comes out of the faucet, but they can also be detected visually. Pipes with frost on the outside, those covered in ice, and ones that are bulging or appear to have small fissures are frozen. Once the plumbing begins to bulge, it is critical that the pipe be defrosted immediately, as bursting is imminent.