During the winter, frozen pipes are a common issue. If not treated promptly the pipe can burst, causing costly water damage to your home and potentially to its foundation. The simplest way to determine a pipe is frozen is to turn the faucet on. When water fails tocomes out, the pipe is likely frozen. The following explains the safest way to thaw a frozen pipe, or you can contact a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing plumber in Katy the plumbing service you need.
Locating a Frozen Pipe
Locating a frozen pipe is not a simple task. Pipes are typically located in the walls, and for houses with a basement or crawlspace, underneath the home before entering through the walls. First, check in the more obvious areas, such as in unheated basements and uninsulated walls.
Once you have located the frozen pipe, open the faucet. If you are able to see frost on the outside of the pipe, this is most likely the frozen area. Unfortunately, frost is not always present. If you are unable to locate the frozen pipe, contact a Ben Franklin plumber in Katy.
Thawing the Pipe
Safety is first, and you should never apply an open flame to any pipe. The risk of fire from an open flame is too high. If you are uncomfortable with the procedure, contact a Ben Franklin plumber in Katy. Otherwise, before you begin do the following:
Turn up the thermostat, or place a space heater in the room. If the frozen pipe is inside the room you can place an electric heater in the room, but do not place it close to the pipe. The heater should be no less than 4-6 foot from the affected pipe and its surroundings to prevent a fire. If the pipe is in a sink cabinet, open the doors to allow air to circulate.
Next, you have the option of purchasing a heat tape. Wrap it as the instructions direct around the affected pipe and plug it in. The cable will warm the pipe and thaw the frozen section. Otherwise, use a hand held hair dryer. However, it is essential to ensure a hair dryer is not used too closely to the pipe, especially plastic pipe. Some types of plastic pipe can be damaged from heat that is too close.
Once you are ready to use the hair dryer, move it back and forth evenly along the frozen pipe, and keep it moving. In addition, remember not to use the dryer close to the pipe. If you have ever held the dryer too close to your head you know how hot it can get.
If you are unsuccessful in thawing a pipe, there may be other areas frozen or a pipe already ruptured preventing water from flowing. Shut off the water and contact a Ben Franklin plumber in Katy.
If the pipe has already burst, turn off the water to limit water damage to your home. Contact a Ben Franklin plumber in Katy to provide pipe repair.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Preventing frozen pipes is always the best option. Use the following tips to prevent pipes freezing during the winter season:
- Foam insulating sleeves on exposed pipes is always a good choice. Furthermore, these sleeves insulate hot water pipes assisting you to reduce energy waste year round.
- During freezing weather leave a small trickle of water running in faucets vulnerable to freezing.
- When freezing temperatures will occur, turn the heat up, and if you will be away from home, never turn the thermostat below 55 degrees to prevent frozen pipes.
- Outdoor faucets and above ground pipe are especially vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Use insulating covers for faucets and foam sleeves available at any hardware store on exposed pipe. In areas of extreme cold, use loosely fitting thick insulation with a waterproof covering, such as plastic and a bucket on top to provide additional protection against cold. Do not wrap too tightly to avoid losing the insulating property, keep it loose.
- Close foundation vents, and seal them for the winter if they are permanently open.
- Use thermostatically controlled heat cable or tape on the incoming water supply pipe, or insulate it well. If you are unable or uncomfortable installing it, contact a plumber in Katy.
- Older home’s often lack wall insulation, and pipes located inside the walls are at an increased risk of freezing. To reduce the chance of a frozen pipe, leave cabinet doors open, and direct air registers toward the outer walls.
- Seal locations where cold air enters your home and its walls. Beginning on the outside of your home, seal any defects in brick and siding. In addition, seal around pipes and cables that enter your home through the basement or foundation. Use a critical eye to locate potential air leaks and seal them. It requires very little frigid air to freeze a water line.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg can provide the plumbing service you need when your home experiences a frozen pipe. When you need a professional plumber in Katy for quality plumbing services, contact our professional licensed plumbers for prompt, reliable service. You can rely on our dedicated plumbers to receive the expertise that meets or exceeds the industry standards, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. We serve Katy, Houston, Sugar Land and the surrounding areas, and are a member of the BBB with an A+ rating.