Addressing the Reality of Frozen Pipes

During Winter it is not unusual for homeowners to encounter problems that are entirely unique to the cold weather of the season. Some times the magnitude of the problem is over-exaggerated – the main reason being unfamiliarity with the problem at hand.

Plumbers earn a very good living from responding to plumbing emergencies that homeowners believe are beyond their capabilities. When times are hard, though, people tend to be more hesitant about incurring avoidable costs.

One of the oft neglected hazards of winter are frozen pipes. Unfortunately, most of us are ill prepared for dealing with a frozen pipe. This article will give you a quick heads-up on what to do when encountered with a frozen pipe.

Preparation is Key

It is common knowledge that one of the best ways to prevent pipes from freezing over is to keep the temperature warm. This means it is not advisable to leave your water heating off for prolonged periods during winter. Alternatively, you can place a portable heater within the vicinity of pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, or you can even use a high wattage bulb to the same effect.

Another good tip, especially if you are going to be away from home for a while is to leave your taps dripping slightly. This ensures that the water within the pipes is always moving, and this movement will prevent the water in the pipes from freezing.

If you are having new plumbing installed, do not fit the pipes to the outside of external walls, as they will be more vulnerable to the hazards of winter. Most of us, unfortunately do not have this option.

If you have pipes which are fitted to the outside of external walls, freezing can be prevented by insulating the pipes. Heat tape and fibre glass are two materials known to achieve good results

If time doesn’t permit, then consider outsourcing the winterization of your pipes to a plumbing professional.

Pioneer Plumbing & Heating

Then it happens…

Sometimes, we are unable to avoid the inevitable. Freezing pipes are an almost certainty during the winter months. When you find yourself faced with frozen pipes, the time calls for curative action rather than preventive measures.

The sooner you are able to detect and attend to a frozen pipe, the less damage will be done. One giveaway sign of a frozen pipe is when you turn on a tap, and no water comes out. Frost or ice on the outside of pipes is another indication of a problem, so too are bulging pipes.

Once you detect a frozen pipe, it is important to thaw it as soon as possible. Even though there are special equipment for thawing pipes, nothing stops you from using something as simple as a hair dryer. Do not, however, make the mistake of using heat from a naked flame. If you find the task of thawing a pipe daunting, don’t hesitate to engage the services of a plumber.

When the pipe is thawed, check for leaks. If and when a leak is detected, you have two options. You can either fix the leak yourself, or call on the services of a good plumber.

Remember that as far as frozen pipes are concerned, prevention is better than cure. This one tip will save you many a headache.