This past fall, we discussed the importance of preventing frozen pipes. This is an unfortunately common problem during this time of the year, as temperatures drop below freezing outside and effect any outdoor plumbing you may have, in addition to indoor plumbing that’s hidden behind walls and beneath floors—which describes the majority of your plumbing system!
Regardless of whether or not you took preventive measures, you may have still ended up with frozen pipes. So, what do you do about it? Your first instinct is likely to try to thaw them on your own—perhaps with a hairdryer or some type of heavy duty garage equipment you have, like a blow torch. Resist this temptation! You can do more harm than good, damaging your pipes and increasing the likelihood of injury.
For safe and effective plumbing repair in Salt Lake City, UT, reach out to our team. Here’s what you can expect, when you do.
What Happens When Pipes Freeze?
Before we continue, it’s important for you to understand why frozen pipes are such a big deal. Water expands as it freezes, so when that water freezes within your pipes, it pushes outward and puts an increased amount of pressure on the pipe walls. Eventually, this pressure will create a rupture in your pipe, which is understandably bad news. This is why it’s so important to take steps to protect your pipes.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
As we discussed in the above-mentioned blog post, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent this from occurring to begin with. For instance, for your outdoor plumbing, you should open and drain all the faucets. You should also insulate any pipes that you’ll be using this winter—particularly pipes that run outdoors or through outdoor facing walls. Finally, you should leave your kitchen sink and bathroom sinks cabinets cracked open, so the heat from your heating system can reach them.
Again, however, you may have done all this only to end up with frozen pipes anyway. Is there anything you can do?
Thawing Frozen Pipes
Open the faucet to that pipe all the way if you haven’t already. This way, when the ice begins to melt it will be able to escape. You may be able to thaw the pipes on your own through a very gradual process of heating up the space they’re in with a space heater. Do NOT leave this area unattended while you do this.
If this doesn’t work, or if you are nervous about attempting to thaw your pipes on your own, then the next step is to call a professional plumber. We have methods and tools we can use for problems such as this, and we’ll ensure that if any subsequent damage occurs due to the frozen pipes, that it is addressed right away to get your plumbing system back up and running.
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