How To Fix Frozen Pipes

As winter begins, there are homeowners experiencing freezing temperatures which puts them at risk for pipes freezing.

Frozen pipes can be an expensive problem.  When exposed to freezing temperatures, ice can accumulate in the pipes throughout a person's home.

Even hidden pipes in areas like crawl spaces and uninsulated outside walls are susceptible to freezing.

When the weather is cold enough, pipes can experience ice building up even in well-insulated homes.

It's cold outside and you forgot to let your faucet drip and/or left the garage door open.  Maybe your thermostat has malfunctioned.  As a result, now your pipes are frozen.

Don't try to use a torch or open flame to thaw your pipes.  The best and safest way to thaw your frozen pipes is to use a hair dryer, space heater, or heat gun.

Pipes could crack or burst due to pressure building up from freezing temperatures.  As a result of these pipes bursting, the cost of the repair can be expensive and cause the water in your home to be shutoff for days.

In these situations timing is critical, as the longer the pipe is frozen the higher the risk of bursting.

Blow Dryer and Space Heater

Don't leave space heaters unattended when plugged into an extension cord.  Using a cord to plug a space heater poses a fire risk.  Space heaters are supposed to plug directly into an outlet receptacle.

Blow dryers can be effective for those hard to reach places such as a wall or ceiling.  It's better to use a blow dryer on plastic type pipes instead of a heat gun.  This is so the pipe doesn't melt.

Heat Gun

Heat guns are effective when it comes to thawing sections of a frozen pipe.  This guide is how to safely use the tool to keep your water in your home running all winter.

Safety is of the utmost importance.  Heating the pipe must be done carefully.  When the pipe gets too hot, the heat can melt the plastic pipe.

Also, too much heat can cause the pipe to burst when the water inside turns into steam.  The type of pipe material will determine the setting of the heat gun.  Low to medium for plastic.  High for copper tubing.  Using a tool like the Milwaukee Heat Gun is highly recommended.

How To Safely Use The Heat Gun

Hold the heat gun a few inches away from the pipe's surface.

When applying the heat, move the heat gun back and forth from one end of the pipe to the other.

Be careful to not place the heat gun in one place for too long.

When the heat gun is in one place for a long time or too close to the pipe, the old plywood and insulation can create a fire hazard if temperature of heat is too high.

Be sure to prevent the hot air from reaching any potential fire hazards located near the pipe, place a heat shield behind the section of pipe you are focusing on.

When thawing frozen pipes your heat gun should be below the melting point.

The purpose of the heat shield is to reflect the heat in the direction the shield is pointed.  If the heat is reflected back to the pipe the heat shield is its proper location.  Be cautious of the hot air as it travels away from the shield.  Keep flammable items away from the hot air.

It is safe to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the event a fire accidently occurs.

In order to prevent frozen pipes it is important for homeowners to understand how to prevent freezing pipes from happening in the first place.

Feel free to give Bill Helmken Plumbing LLC a call at 412-584-5574 or 412-897-4210 for further assistance with your frozen pipes.