Happy Thursday. I hope everyone is staying warm this brisk last day of January. Today’s blog, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about what to do when your pipes freeze.
It’s 6:30 AM, your alarm goes off. You feel a slight chill to the air, but it feels good as you are warm and cozy, under the blankets in your bed. It’s Thursday, you need to get up and get moving to head into the office by 9 AM. You shuffle your way into the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee. You turn on the water faucet….nothing comes out. You go to the bathroom, you try that faucet and…..nothing. Ugh, your pipes are frozen. Now what? Below I’ve listed some tips that will help keep your pipes from freezing and what NOT to do when your pipes have frozen.
First let me start by saying, and I’ve mentioned this in my earlier blogs, KNOW WHERE YOUR MAIN WATER SHUT OFF VALVE IS!! This is very important and will save you down the road.
- Keep the water flowing!! You should keep the faucet open. As the frozen area starts to melt, water will flow and running water will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to frozen area using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe and/or an electric hair dryer. You can also go to your local hardware store and purchase heat tape. It’s relatively inexpensive and can save you a call to the plumber.
- Use a portable space heater, kept away from flammable materials, to warm under the house (Never leave heater unattended).
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored.
- If your drain pipes freeze, boil a kettle of hot water. Stir a cup of kosher salt into the hot water, then pour the concoction down the frozen drain. This slurry will act like the rock salt you put down outside to melt ice-covered sidewalks. Do this a couple of times, and it should get water flowing through your drain in no time.
- If you cannot find the frozen area, if the area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber. When calling a plumber, make sure to ask that they come with a thaw machine.
- Keep a mop, bucket and towels on hand. The frozen water may be acting as a plug, preventing water from spilling out of the cracks in your pipes. When that plug is thawed, water gushes out. It’s a good idea to be ready with a mop, bucket, and towels in case there’s a plumbing leak.
DO NOT use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
*** Leaving home for a few days: Remember to turn your water off, that way if your pipes freeze, the damage will be minimal and you won’t come home to a lake in your living room or basement.