What to Do if Your Pipes Freeze This Winter

It’s a nightmare scenario every homeowner hopes they’ll never have to face—they arrive home (or wake up in the middle of the night) to water trickling throughout their house, as several of their pipes have frozen and ultimately burst due to the pressure of the expanding ice.

Luckily, here are ways you can prevent your pipes from freezing when the weather gets cold. Keeping the heat running in your home, along with better insulation, goes a long way toward preventing your pipes from getting frozen. In addition, you can allow your faucets to slowly drip to reduce pressure buildup—even if the pipes then freeze, the released pressure will mean there probably won’t be a breakage.

Of course, these prevention steps don’t do much to help you if your pipes have already frozen. So, if you’ve got frozen pipes in your home and you’re in a panic, here are some tips for what you can do, courtesy of a plumber in Grand Rapids, MN:

  • Keep the faucet open: First things first, open up the faucet(s) to which the pipes lead. After you take some other steps to get the frozen area warmed up and melting, you’ll need the water to be able to flow out of the faucet. Running water will help melt ice along the way, and will also help ease the pressure that’s built up inside the system due to the freeze.
  • Apply heat: Obviously, to get the melt started, you’re going to need to apply some heat to the area. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to use an electric heating pad, which you can wrap around the pipe. You can also use a towel soaked in hot water, or blow it with an electric hair dryer. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heater, charcoal stove or any other device that creates an open flame—this is a massive fire risk and could create significantly more damage than would have happened just due to the frozen pipe.
  • Space heater: In some cases, it can be helpful to bring in a portable space heater to warm under the house, depending on the kind of layout your house has and if there are any crawl spaces. If this is a step you take, just make sure you keep the space heater away from any flammable materials in the area—you don’t want to accidentally start a fire while trying to warm up your pipes.
  • Keep the heat going: You should keep your heat applications in use until the full water pressure has been restored. It’s not enough to just have some water trickling out—it needs to be back to normal before you can feel comfortable removing the heat.
  • Get help: If you’re unable to find which area of the pipes is frozen, or if that area is not accessible or simply cannot be thawed, it’s best to seek professional help from a plumber in Grand Rapids, MN.

Contact Rapids Plumbing & Heating Inc. today for more tips about what to do if your pipes freeze this winter.

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