Utah is not exempt from freezing temperatures, which are problematic for pipes. You may still find yourself dealing with frozen pipes even if you think your entire plumbing system is in perfect working order. Mybuddytheplumber.com shares that calling a plumber can be stressful when they’re not available 24/7, so it’s best to know what to do in the absence of professionals.
If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you need to know.
Put the Torch Away
Frozen pipes are brittle and vulnerable; you need to handle them with care. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your entire system by not thawing frozen pipes properly.
You may have heard your neighbors telling you to use gas heaters and blow torches when dealing with freezing pipes, but most fire protection districts discourage this approach. It’s dangerous because it might set your house or building on fire.
Instead of using a propane torch equipped with a flame-spreader nozzle, go for a warm and heavy towel or burlap bag. Wrap it around the pipes and let it concentrate and hold heat against the pipes.
Another safe and less messy option is using a hair dryer or a heat lamp as a heat source. These tools may take a longer time to work, but these are much safer than a torch.
Handle the Frozen Pipes with Care
Water expands when it freezes, so there’s a high probability that it could crack your pipes when you thaw it. This could cause a leak, which creates a whole other set of problems, from water damage to mold.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Start by cutting off the water supply to your home. Look for the water main cut-off valve. Before trying to thaw out the frozen pipes, prepare a water key.
- Relieve any pressure by opening up faucets linked to the frozen pipes before you start thawing. Relieving the pipes from built-up pressure lowers the risk of rupture.
- Gradually warm the frozen pipes. You may use towels soaked in warm water, or you can opt for a warm hair dryer to thaw pipes.
- Look for leaks once you have thawed the pipes. Check if there are any sounds of gushing water, a sign that a pipe has burst. Running a quick water test can help you quickly locate leaks if there are any.
Immediately contact a professional if you’ve detected a leak. Before the plumbers arrive, make sure to cut off the main water valve.
Prevent Frozen Pipes from Bursting
Frozen pipes might burst if not properly thawed. There are several ways to prevent this from happening.
Keeping the heat on could help prevent pipes from bursting. Setting the temperature at least above 50 degrees Fahrenheit may provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm.
On another note, the pressure between the faucet and the blockage may cause the pipes to burst. Allow the faucet to drip slightly to relieve the pressure in the system.
Seal up cracks and holes near the pipes to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Caulking can prevent frozen pipes from bursting.
If the situation is worse than you imagined, leave it to the professionals.