Water bursting through frozen pipes is not uncommon in Houston homes during periods of frigid, cold weather. You’d be surprised how many calls we get every winter to restore properties that are affected by water damage from frozen pipes. The remediation process requires work from a professional, but there are some things you can do to thaw frozen pipes and prevent water damage before it’s too late. Here’s what you need to know.
Locate the Frozen Pipe
If you’re not sure which pipe is frozen, turn on all of the faucets in your home. Check to see which faucet isn’t releasing any water or is releasing just a trickle. The pipe leading to that faucet is likely the frozen culprit.
Turn on the Faucet
Once you’ve located the frozen pipe, open the faucet leading to it. Be sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This will allow water to flow once you start thawing the pipe.
Start Thawing Near the Faucet
When thawing a frozen pipe, the best practice is to start closer to the faucet and work your way down to the frozen section. If you start closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage. This creates more pressure in the pipe and increases the chances of the pipe breaking.
Thawing Exposed Pipes
There are several ways to thaw pipes that you can access:
- Point a hairdryer at the frozen pipe, starting near the faucet. Follow proper safety precautions for the dryer and don’t come in contact with water when using the dryer.
- Wrap hot towels around the frozen pipe. This method is slower but potentially safer than the ones above.
- Apply electric heat tape directly to the pipe. This tape insulates the pipe, defrosting it. You can leave the heat tape on the pipe and turn it on/off when you need to.
Thawing Enclosed Pipes
You can thaw pipes that you don’t have direct access to a few different ways:
- Turn the heat up in your home and wait until the increased interior temperature thaws out the frozen pipe.
- Position an infrared lamp in front of the portion of the wall where the frozen pipe is located. The heat from the lamp could penetrate the wall and help the pipe defrost.
- As a last resort, cut out the section of the drywall in front of the frozen pipe to easily access it. You can then use one of the methods for thawing exposed pipes.
Know the Risks
When trying to thaw a frozen pipe yourself using a heat source, you run the risk of injury and fire. Make sure you take proper safety measures when using electrical equipment. In addition, if you don’t start thawing near the faucet, the pipe could burst and cause water to flow into your home. Know the risks ahead of time and act and plan accordingly.
If your home has been damaged by water from a burst pipe, give us a call! We’re here for you 24/7, and can help you get your home and your life back to normal.