What to do if pipes freeze

With winter temperatures getting colder and colder, the fear of having frozen pipes turns into something as real as it is worrying. The pressure of frozen water can damage and even burst pipes made from all kinds of materials.

In harsh winters, it is fairly common to wake up to faucets without any water coming out of them, as the temperatures can reach frigid levels during the night. Learning how to identify, prevent and even solve frozen pipes might make your life easier in these cold days.

Here are some tips on how to avoid your pipes from freezing and how to deal with frozen ones on your own.

How Can You Keep Pipes from Freezing?

Keep pipes from freezing

There are some cautions you might like to have when it comes to dealing with frozen – or frozen-to-be – pipes. Take a look on what to do concerning short and long-term prevention.

Short-term prevention

If you are reading this as a precaution and your pipes have not frozen yet, the quickest way to prevent them from freezing is simply keeping the temperature of your house warm enough through days and nights – when it gets really frigid.

Even if it feels like you are wasting money on the heating bill, it is better than having to deal with the expenses of pipes that burst due to freezing. Another tip that may sound conflicting is to let the faucets drip lightly, so the water continues running and avoids freezing.

Long-term prevention

Pipes that are exposed to the cold in places such as a garage or an attic should be insulated, and shut-off valves should be used in outdoor faucets.

Another lasting change you might consider is having a smart thermostat installed at home in order to control and monitor temperatures wherever you are and to warm up the place in case your region reaches freezing temperatures.

How Can You Tell If Your Pipes Are Frozen?

How can tell pipes frozen

The first step to deal with frozen pipes is to identify them. If the water is on and there is no leak, but no water comes out of the faucets, there is probably a frozen pipe.

If they are exposed pipes, you may see frost or even a bulging or cracked spot – as the water expands when frozen. Also, hearing gurgling strange sounds and touching pipes and feeling the cold spot are quick and precise signs.

What Should You Do When the Pipes Freeze?

Should do when pipes freeze

  1. One of the first things to do is open every faucet in your house to release the pressure on the pipes and help with the melting process.
  2. After that, make sure the heaters are all turned on and up to warm the whole place. Even better if the cabinet doors are open to let the heat in.
  3. In case you know exactly where the frozen part is, to help thawing the pipe you can use a directed space heater, a blow dryer or even a hot towel around it.
  4. If you identify a leak or a busted pipe, shut off the main water valve and reach out for your plumber.

Will Frozen Pipes Thaw on Their Own?

Pipes frozen thaw on their own

People often ask if the frozen pipes will thaw by themselves, and how long does it take the process. Even if they eventually do, with the natural raise of temperatures, that will not happen without significant damage to your plumbing. Also, the time it will take to naturally thaw is unpredictable, while following the measures given here will take from 30 minutes to an hour.

The utter best and safest solution for frozen pipes problem is: find a professional. Nothing is more likely to work well and without damage than an experienced Licensed Plumber.

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