Expert Tips: Preventing and Thawing Frozen Water Pipes for Winter Resilience

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As temperatures plummet, your home faces a silent enemy. Water expands when frozen, leading to increased pressure on the container holding it. As a result, the pipes get cracked, and when the ice melts, water begins to leak from them, damaging your property and increasing your maintenance expenses. 

Hence, no matter how sturdy the water supply lines in your house are, the extreme winters can cause them to freeze, rupture, and affect your entire property. Considering this, it is better to prepare for pipe freezing prevention before the onset of winter to save yourself from the hassle of repair and replacement afterwards. If you want to avoid or thaw frozen water pipes in your house, this article discusses some measures and tips for achieving that. 

Preventing the Water Pipes from Freezing: Measures to Take in Advance

  • The best solution for frozen pipe prevention is to allow the water to keep flowing inside them, even drop by drop. That is because if the water remains static for long, it has a greater chance of freezing and damaging the pipe. Therefore, it is better not to turn off the taps and keep the water steady inside the pipes. 
  • You can also prevent frozen water pipes by locating those with no insulation and draining them from the water completely. With no water, there will be no chance for the pipes to freeze, no matter how low the temperature is. 
  • Add insulation layers to pipes to prevent the temperature inside them from dropping to the point of freezing. The best options for water pipe insulation are fibreglass insulation strips or foam pipe adhesive insulation. Both are reliable and can be attached to long supply lines, especially in basements and attics. 
  • Use heat tape to avoid frozen water supply lines in your exterior living space. It is a cost-effective and durable method that guarantees the safety of the water pipes and prevents them from freezing. 
  • Allow warm air to pass around the pipes. Although this cannot ensure the smooth flow of water in the pipes, it can lessen the risk of them freezing compared to those in closed areas with no air.

How do you handle if pipes get frozen? 

If the water pipes on your property have already frozen and are at risk of damage, you can still thaw them and ensure the safety of your property. It is important to note that the methods for thawing concealed and exposed pipes vary a bit because of their accessibility. 

Tips for Thawing Concealed Pipes:

  • To thaw frozen concealed pipes, the first thing you need to do is to heat the entire house. When the temperature inside the house rises, the heat will automatically be shifted to its inaccessible parts, thus aiding in the insulation of frozen pipes. 
  • Another tip for thawing frozen plumbing is to turn on the taps and faucets. By doing that, freshwater will continue running through supply lines and will help melt the ice inside them, thus ensuring an effective thawing of water pipes. 
  • If the pipes fit in areas like inside the wall, have frozen, and are likely to get damaged, try to reach those by cutting up the walls and exposing them to direct heat.

Methods to Thaw Exposed Pipes:

  • For the pipes in kitchens, attics, and basements, you can expose them to heat directly to melt the ice within them. To do that, you can use one of the following methods:
    • Use an electric hair dryer to apply heat to the frozen parts of the pipe.
    • Expose the frozen pipes to heat by placing electric heaters near them. 
    • Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the frozen sections of the pipes to provide them insulation and, hence, aid in melting the ice inside them.

If the above preventive and thawing methods seem challenging, you can get help from a plumber. However, one thing that you should remember is to act before it’s too late. That is because when the ice melts and flows out from the cracked pipes, it can cause heavy damage to your property. If it affects the electrical wiring and connections in the house, it can even result in dangerous incidents. Therefore, to avoid such problems, it is best to take measures in advance and save your water pipes from damage before it gets too late.

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