Knowing what to do with frozen pipes can help prevent expensive water damage. Here are some tips to guide you:
Open the Faucet
When pipes freeze, they accumulate pressure. This is actually one of the reasons frozen pipes break. Therefore, it is always advisable to keep the faucets open. Although opening the faucets won't make the frozen water run (because frozen water can't run), it can help ease pressure along the pipes when you begin the thawing process.
We'll discuss this process shortly.
Locate the Frozen Area
Next, locate the frozen area. One easy way to do this is by testing the temperature around the pipe. In most cases, pipes located outside the building have a higher risk of freezing because they're directly exposed to cold. Therefore, begin by checking the pipes outside the building and then move towards the inside.
Choose the Safest Way to Unfreeze the Pipe
There are many different ways to unfreeze frozen pipes. However, it's important to settle for the safest. For example, if the pipe is located next to fire hazards, you don't want to use direct fire to unfreeze it. Rather, consider soaking a heavy towel in hot water and then wrapping the towel around the frozen pipe.
This should help thaw the frozen area. Next, repeat the procedure with more towels. Depending on the length of the pipe, you may need several towels.
Using an electronic heating pad is also another option. However, safety should be your priority. If you choose this option, keep an eye on the heating pad. Do not leave it unattended for a long period.
Additionally, before using this option, make sure the area is dry. This helps minimize the risk of electrocution in case of faulty wiring anywhere on the heating pad.
Consider DIY Insulation
If you have good access to the frozen pipes, consider conducting a DIY insulation project. For best results, do this after thawing the frozen pipe. You can use heating tape to insulate the pipes. Alternatively, consider using a foam insulator.
Contact an Experienced Plumber
If you're not a DIY person, you shouldn't attempt to thaw these pipes. This also applies if you can't seem to access the pipes. While you can successfully thaw the pipes in this situation, this could lead to bigger and more expensive problems.
Consider hiring an experienced plumber to help fix this problem. Such a plumber will use special equipment to unthaw the pipes. They can also provide professional advice to help fix this problem immediately and plan how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. For example, using pipe insulators before the cold season can help prevent this problem once the cold season begins.