Frozen Pipes? Here’s What You Need to Know.
Although you are already in your bathrobe, you still haven’t taken a shower. Why not? Your pipes are frozen. Not only are frozen pipes annoying, but they are also dangerous.
When you’re dealing with a frozen pipe, it’s important to work as fast as possible. Frozen pipes can be extremely dangerous to your property, as well as your plumbing system. Water expands when it freezes, meaning that your plumbing (which is already under a lot of pressure), will try to contain this pressure. If your pipes are old or simply out pressured, the results can be devastating.
When a pipe bursts due to freezing, water is allowed to flow freely wherever the pipe burst. Whether it’s in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement, your home’s rooms and structure will be subjected to extensive damage.
Warning Signs of Frozen Pipes
While it may seem like plumbing systems usually give your more than a probable cause to suspect something is amiss, but that’s not always the case. With this being said, if you live in a colder climate, it’s important to understand some of the warning signs of a frozen pipe, or plumbing system.
Let’s get the obvious ones out of the way. If the temperature is cold enough, your pipes are likely to freeze. It’s important to take the proper precautions beforehand to protect your most vulnerable pipes from freezing when the temperature hits 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
If you have noticed frost on any of your pipes, such as those found under the sink or along exterior walls, this can be a severe warning that a pipe is frozen well before you try to flip on the shower.
While a lack of running water can be caused by several common plumbing issues, such as clogs and faulty water heaters, frozen pipes will lead to stopping your access to running water. Whether it’s a few dribbles or no water at all, and the temperature is cold, odds are that your pipes are frozen.
Lastly, any strong, foul, or unpleasant odor coming from one or all of your home’s drains is a sign for concern. When ice forms in your pipes, the odors from your home’s drains have nowhere to escape, thus reverting to which they came.
What Pipes Can Freeze?
Any pipe in your plumbing system can freeze under the right circumstances. It is important to note that pipes located in your home’s exterior walls, attics, or basements tend to be more vulnerable to freezing.
Before the temperature begins to drop too much, it’s important to ensure you have given your pipes the preventive maintenance needed to fight against freezing on a cold winter night.
Some ways to prevent freezing pipes include:
- Preventive Maintenance – One of the best ways to protect your home from experiencing the nightmare that comes with frozen pipes is by having preventive maintenance performed by a team of professionals. From pipe insulation to proper sealing, there is a lot our team can do to help you have peace of mind before the colder nights begin to roll in.
- Let Water Run – Water has a harder time freezing when it's on the move. While not the most environmentally sound, letting your faucets drip while not in use can save your plumbing system from encountering a terrible freeze.
- 55 Degrees Minimum – In general, it’s important to keep your home’s temperature consistent. 55 degrees Fahrenheit should be the absolute minimum your home reaches down to, especially while you’re not home. This will ensure your home’s plumbing system remains at a steady temperature.
This is just the beginning of the steps you should take to keep your home’s pipes from freezing. When you give Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Greater Minneapolis a call, you can rely on our team to provide you a full solution to preserving your home’s running water all season long.
How Can I Unfreeze My Pipes?
Once you’ve identified that your morning routine was indeed thrown off by a frozen pipe, what do you do? Once you’re sure a pipe is frozen, be sure to act fast. Depending on the location of the pipe and your knowledge of plumbing, you may be able to perform some DIY magic to unfreeze the pipe yourself.
To unfreeze an exposed pipe, you must raise its temperature. This can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest ways to reduce the temperature is via a hairdryer. Beginning with the portion closest to the faucet, use a hairdryer to blow hot air across the surface of the pipe.
Additionally, you can thaw a frozen pipe via towels that have been dipped in hot water, heat lamps, space heaters, or even electrical heating tape. Virtually any DIY warming method will do, just be sure to avoid using any type of open flame on your plumbing system.
If you’re unable to reach the pipe, determine which pipe, or simply don’t have the means to handle it yourself, it’s important to call a professional team of plumbers to find a solution for your frozen pipes. If you’re ever unsure about your plumbing system’s health, be sure to turn to a professional plumber.
Frozen Pipe Repairs in Greater Minneapolis
Under absolutely no circumstances should frozen pipes ever be ignored. If the unthinkable happens and a pipe bursts in your home, be sure to call our team of professionals today! Our dedicated team of plumbers is here to assist you with the frozen pipe repair services you need, as well as the proper plumbing maintenance to prevent it from happening again. Contact our local plumbers today by giving us a call at (612) 430-6547!