Even if you take all the pipe precautions in the world, there’s still a chance one of your pipes might freeze in bad, cold weather. If you see that one of your pipes has frozen, here’s what you can do to minimize the damage:
Check the faucet closest to the frozen pipe
If a pipe under your kitchen sink is frozen, turn on the faucet. If the pipe leading away from your water heater is frozen, find where you think the closest water connection is based on proximity and test that shower or sink. Even if water doesn’t come out, leave the faucet open to help with pressure and to see if you eventually get a trickle of water. Call a plumber now that you know the pipe has frozen through.
Check for burst pipes
One frozen pipe is a sign there could be others, and you should focus on damage control. If a burst pipe is right next to a faucet, shut off the localized water valve. If it’s a main pipe, shut off your house’s water with the main shut-off valve.
Consider thawing your pipes yourself
Some pipes are more amenable to a little DIY prodding than others. If you feel comfortable trying to thaw a frozen pipe yourself, place a pan under the frozen section of the pipe in case something goes wrong and slowly thaw the pipes with a hair dryer. Work section by section, starting at the faucet, to warm up the pipe. Gradually warm up the pipe, so the metal isn’t overly stressed, and so melted ice has somewhere to flow. Never try to thaw a pipe with open flame.
If you see signs of a frozen pipe, one of the first steps you should take is to call in a plumber. If you have frozen pipes, your neighbors might too, and that could mean a long waiting list. Knowing how to minimize the damage and even troubleshoot the frozen pipes during your wait can minimize the stress of an emergency. Contact us for more tips about how to deal with frozen pipes and how to protect them from future storms.