January 7, 2015
It’s been a tad bit cold lately.
As a matter of fact, while typing these words the temperature (with the windchill) is a bitingly cold -25° Celsius.
Yes, I do have a knack for understatements.
If you own a house, whenever the temperature drops below the freezing mark (0°C.), chances are the water pipes throughout your home are at risk of freezing.
If after a recent extreme cold alert, your taps are not responding and, assuming the bills have been paid on time, it’s likely that pipes are indeed frozen.
It’s always a good idea to seek professional assistance with these matters, however, if time and costs are constraints—try a few of these tips.
How to avoid frozen pipes in the first place
Tip #1: Consider leaving a tap open to allow a trickle of water to flow though. This approach allows some movement
in pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, minimizing a buildup or blockage.
Tip #2: Leaving your home for extended period of time? I recommend that you shut off the main service valve in the basement and open all taps to drain the water out of the plumbing lines to minimize the likelihood of freezing.
Tip # 3: If your water pipes are attached to a non-insulated outside wall, remove the clamp from the pipes and gently pull the pipes away from the wall and wrap with insulation.
Sounds a tad bit complicated but this only requires around 45 seconds to a minute of your time.
Tip # 4: Insulate all exposed outside water pipes with foam pipe covers.
This handy device is available at just about any local building supply shop or home improvement store.
Tip #5: Ensure your garage doors are kept closed if there are water supply lines installed inside.
Tip #6: Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing areas.
Go one step further & take these precautions
Tip #7: Establish where the master water shut-off valve is located in your home. When the water inside a frozen pipe thaws, that area is vulnerable to breakage causing leakage to occur.
Tip #8: If indeed the pipe is broken, it’s a wise idea to shut off the water pressure until the pipe is repaired.
Tip #9: Do not use a fire torch with an open flame to thaw pipes. This is a fire hazard and could create other precarious conditions.
Try these steps to thaw a frozen pipe
Tip #10: Switch on a tap in the basement, ideally the cold water faucet in the laundry area.
Tip # 11: Apply a blow dryer to warm the frozen pipe area for an hour or two. Remember to check back regularly to ensure the
dryer doesn’t overheat.
Tip #12: A warm towel or rag may be wrapped around the frozen pipe.
Tip #13: Depending on the outside temperature and the extent of freezing within the pipe, the thawing process could take between one and six hours.
Tip #14: If these steps do not resolve the problem, contact a licensed plumber.