Your pipes are frozen. Now what?

by: Cassandra Sweetman, Nexstar Media Wire

Posted: Feb 16, 2021 / 12:34 PM CST
Updated: February 16, 2021 / 12:34 p.m. CST

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Many homes across the country keep their taps running to prevent pipes from freezing. However, what if you don’t stop them from locking?

Plumbers say there are a few things you can try to correct the problem, but even they find the freeze difficult to locate and fix.

“I’ve got the most frozen pipe calls I’ve ever had and I’ve been in the plumbing business for 27 years,” said Jason Walmsley of Trinity Plumbing, Oklahoma City. “I’ve never seen it like this before.”

Depending on where your pipes are, Walmsley said you might be able to thaw them yourself.

5 Ways To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing In Cold Weather

“If it’s just the hot side, the water pipes in the water heater’s cabinet are usually frozen, especially in the garage,” he said. “If it’s the whole house, I’ve seen some underground water pipes that are frozen, and if that’s the case then unfortunately you have to wait for it to warm up.”

Walmsley said, as long as you don’t leave them unattended, you can try space heaters or even blow dryers, though the latter are less effective. Simply open the cabinets and turn on the faucet to allow water to flow through when thawing.

“In my experience, the little electric heaters and the like don’t work most of the time, especially when it’s cold now,” he said, referring to the cold snap that caused freezing temperatures and power outages in several states in the south and across the plains states.

Even with his tools, the puzzle is difficult to solve.

Cold weather causes problems for homeowners

“You look at an area, if it’s nothing, move around and just go on and on,” Walmsley said.

Even high-performance, construction-quality insulation may not be adequately protected in communities where temperatures are 30 or 40 degrees below normal. If you want to add insulation, you should wait for the frozen pipes to thaw before wrapping them.

The best prevention is to keep your faucets running more than a drop, even if it means you are wasting water around your house.

“I know it sounds crazy and wastes a lot of water, but in my opinion it’s cheaper than freezing and popping your pipe,” he said.

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