10 Tricks to Thaw Frozen Pipes

The real disaster often occurs when the ice thaws and water flows freely into your home, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

Why pipes burst

When water freezes, it increases in volume by about 9 percent. And it expands with tremendous force: the pressure in the pipes can go from 40 pounds per square inch to 40,000 pounds per square inch! No pipe can hold that much pressure so it breaks open. The break can occur where the ice forms, but more often where the water pressure finds a weak point in the pipe. This can be inches or even feet from the frozen area. Checking your pipes is just one of the things every winter homeowner should do.

Run the water

A tiny trickle of faucets protects pipes in two ways. First, it prevents pressure from building up in pipes. Second, it creates a constant flow of water through pipes, which makes it much less likely to freeze.

Temporary steps to thaw frozen tubes

The first sign of ice building up in pipes is reduced flow on the faucets. If flow slows down during a cold snap and you suspect your pipes are vulnerable, take action. Here are some things you can do:

  • Increase the heat – find out the best temperature for a house in winter.
  • Position fans so that heat is blown into cold rooms.
  • Open the vanity or cabinet doors to allow warm air to reach the pipes under the sinks.
  • If you’ve exposed pipes in closets or pantries, leave the doors open.
  • Disconnect the garden hoses from the outside taps. Even “frost-proof” taps can burst when a hose is connected.
  • Keep the garage door closed.
  • When you’ve reduced the water flow, use a hair dryer to heat the most vulnerable pipes (usually in basements and crawl spaces or near outside walls). Leave the faucet on while you apply heat. When you melt ice, the flow increases.

Permanent protection

Long term frost prevention is usually a large project, e.g. B. isolating a crawl space, replacing standard outside taps with frost-proof models or even diverting pipes away from cold spots in the house. First, contact a professional plumber to assess your situation and make recommendations.

Heat the pipe

The electric heating cable is a good protection in cold spells. A thermostat only turns the heater on when the temperature drops, so the heating cable doesn’t waste electricity when it’s not needed. However, when you need to protect a lot of pipes for a long time, the heating cable is an expensive solution.

Don’t miss out on those nightmares that will make you shiver.

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