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Winter is here! Ways to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes


“Winter is here” reminds us of the blockbuster TV series Game Of Thrones. But, when temperatures fall below 20 degrees, what you’ll really be reminded of is the sheer inconvenience of frozen water pipes.

When a pipe freezes, the water inside it expands and exerts so much pressure on the surface that it ruptures. Initially, since the water is frozen, it will not leak, but compromised pipelines are like time bombs. As soon as the water starts to defrost, your home will be on the verge of experiencing a major flood, and you could experience thousands of dollars in losses.

On average, whenever a pipe bursts, it has been reported that it can quickly spill hundreds of gallons of water in less than an hour, resulting in damaged walls, floors, curtains, upholstery, and ceilings.

Let’s look at some popular ways to thaw frozen pipes.

Turn Up The Heat

Central Heating System

If the pipeline is exposed, turning up the furnace or the house’s central heating system is recommended. If the pipe is inside a wall or a cabinet, open the door to ensure an adequate amount of heat reaches it.

Space Heater

Use a small, portable heater to directly target pipes that are frozen under remote, inaccessible areas such as fittings inside the vanity or kitchen cabinet. Make sure to keep it at a distance of at least four feet, and keep an eye on it to avoid any mishaps.

Infrared Lamp

Incandescent or Infrared lamps provide better results than regular ones when used to heat the wall section where the frozen pipe is located. This is because they radiate through the air without damaging the material of your wall by overheating it.

Image File: Frozen-icle-pipeline

Image Alt Text: Frozen icicles on pipeline

Hair Dryer

To thaw frozen pipe lengths, place a cookie sheet on one side of the pipeline to help the heat radiate to the back of it. Make sure to use the highest setting on the warm air option of your hairdryer to defrost.

Hot Towel Wrap

Soak some towels in boiling hot water, and simply wrap them on the pipelines. Repeat the process until you feel the water is running smoothly again.

Heat Tape

Another innovative option is to wrap ribbon-like electric heat tape around your frozen pipelines. Whenever you plug it in, the thermostat will regulate the temperature and help fix the issue.

Things To Remember

  • While heating the pipe may solve the problem, NEVER use an open flame or a propane torch to thaw the pipes. Pipes can get ruptured, but the more concerning issue is that they may contain gases, the material may catch fire leading to more damage.
  • If you are able to thaw the pipelines successfully, keep the faucet on for several minutes to ensure that all ice gets cleared completely from the line. Until then, check for possible leaks.

What To Do If The Pipeline Bursts?

While the aforementioned hacks are generally successful, if the pipes remain frozen or you find leaks, the first thing one should do is shut off the main valve to avoid flooding and property damage. Do not take any chances and immediately call a reliable plumbing company to get your line replaced or repatched.

Your 1 Plumber has a decade worth of experience in dealing with water pipe restoration, bathroom or kitchen plumbing and installation, water heater repair, faucet repair, pipeline burst repairs and many other services. We guarantee the most efficient and affordable same day service for emergencies.

With our state of the art equipment and cutting edge technology, we provide matchless services in  Columbia, Fredrick, Silver Spring, Montgomery County, and nearby areas. Contact us at our toll-free number (888) 540 7586 for all your commercial and residential plumbing needs, and schedule a service online today!

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