With winter fast approaching, there’s a chance you are soon going to be dealing with frozen pipes in your home. Especially in the northern Canadian cities such as Winnipeg, Edmonton and Montreal, winter arrives in no time. Sure, there are a number of precautions you can take to prevent your pipes from freezing, and we highly recommend that you do, but if despite your efforts you still find yourself with frozen pipes there are a number of things you can do to thaw them out before they do any severe damage. Here’s a quick look at some ways to deal with frozen pipes this winter.
Identifying the problem
Before dealing with a frozen pipe, you need to first find it. You need to identify the frozen pipe and more specifically, find the exact spot it is frozen. The best way to identify a frozen pipe by using the faucets in your home. Turn on each one and look for the signs of a frozen pipe. These signs include the water coming out in only a slow trickle or just simply not coming out at all. If either of these is the case, then you have found your frozen pipe and need to spring into action!
Thawing frozen water pipes
Frozen water pipes can be a big problem and an even bigger problem if they burst. To prevent bursting, you’re going to have to spring into immediate action once you discover a pipe is frozen. There are a few thawing techniques you can do, and which one you go with depends on where the frozen pipe is located.
Thawing a frozen pipe behind a wall- if this is the case, there are three things you can do (if the pipe has not burst yet). First, you can simply turn up the heat in your home and allow it to thaw the pipe slowly. Second, you can cut out the section of the wall in front of the frozen pipe and thaw the pipe when it is exposed (do not use a blowtorch to do this, as it is a dangerous fire hazard). Your third option is to use an infrared lamp to target the specific section of wall in front of the frozen pipe and heat it up.
Thawing an exposed or outdoor pipe- if the frozen pipe is exposed, either indoors or outdoors, you have several options for thawing it. A hairdryer is the simplest method and can be pretty reliable, as can an infrared or incandescent heat lamp; when using both of these, if the pipe is close to a wall, place a cookie sheet behind it to reflect heat onto the back of the pipe.
Using a portable heater is great for thawing frozen pipes underneath a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Simply plug it in, point it towards the frozen pipe and let it get to work. Lastly, you can try using heat tape, which is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. Simply wrap it around the frozen pipe and plug it in; its temperature is controlled with a thermostat.
Dealing with a burst pipe
If you have discovered that your pipe has in fact burst, then you are looking at a bigger problem. The best thing to do in this situation is to contact a professional and have them take care of it for you. Aslan Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency service and we are always ready to help you with your plumbing emergencies.
All credit goes to Aslan Plumbing