The cold weather in the winter months can be devastating to the plumbing system in your home, and the main problem with cold weather is freezing of the pipes. If any of your plumbing pipes freeze, it could turn into a catastrophic problem in your home. While there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening in the future, you will need to call an emergency plumber if you currently have a frozen pipe. Here are two things you should know about frozen pipes.
The Dangers And Risks Of Frozen Pipes
When a pipe freezes in your home, the first sign you may notice is a lack of water when you turn on a faucet. If water does not come out of the faucet and it is really cold outside, it is probably due to a frozen pipe. If water freezes in a pipe, it causes a blockage in the pipe. Not only will this prevent you from getting water, but it can also cause the pipe to explode.
When water freezes, it expands. The expansion of the pipe is what leads to bursting of pipes, and bursting leads to water spilling out into your home. If you believe you have a frozen pipe, you should:
- Try to locate the pipe – Unfortunately, most of the plumbing pipes in your house are probably hidden in the walls, but there is a chance you might be able to locate it. A frozen pipe will generally have frost buildup around it, and this is how you can tell where the freeze is at.
- Shut off the main water valve – When a pipe is frozen, there is a chance it will burst. If you shut off the main water valve, it will stop all water from entering your house. If the pipe ends up bursting, at least there will not be a lot of water spilling out.
- Turn on faucets – After shutting off the main water valve, turn all your faucets on. This will help drain water from the lines in the house.
After completing these steps, you may want to try to thaw the pipe, if you know where the freeze is located.
Ways To Thaw Frozen Pipes
There are right ways to thaw frozen pipes and wrong ways, and completing this step the wrong way could actually cause more harm than good. If you do not feel comfortable handling this yourself, or if you do cannot locate the problem, it is probably better for you to call an emergency plumber for help.
The right way to thaw a frozen pipe is by heating up the area where the frozen pipe is located. Using a space heater or heat lamp is a good option, but you must make sure you keep it far enough away from the pipe. Water and electric do not mix well, which is why most plumbers will tell you not to use a blow dryer to complete this job. Never use devices that operate with kerosene or propane to thaw your pipes, because these items are extremely flammable.
Letting a professional handle this job is usually the safest option. Emergency plumbers can handle jobs like this, and they can also help you take steps to prevent this from happening in the future. Prevention often involves locating pipes that are at risk for freezing. Once they are located, a plumber may suggest insulating them. There are other steps a plumber may also suggest that could be helpful to reduce the risk of freezing pipes in your home.
A frozen pipe will require urgent attention, because it could lead to further problems. If you discover a frozen pipe in your house and do not want to take the chances of it bursting, you may want to call an emergency plumber right away. For more information, visit sites like http://www.plumbprosinc.com.