Frozen pipes are dangerous – If the pipe freezes and then bursts it can cause major damage to your property. Once the water in the pipe freezes, pressure is created between the closed faucet and blockage can build up to a point that causes it to burst.

How do you know if you have frozen pipes?

  • The Temperature is RightWhen the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing
  • There is Frost on the PipeSee if frost has accumulated on the exterior of the pipes you can see.  Areas such as under your sink or in your basement should be checked for frost.
  • Water is not Coming Out of the FaucetIf you turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water comes out at all, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen. 
  • Strange Smells – If your pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way odor can escape is back up the pipe. If you have an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain, the water may be frozen in the pipe.

What do you do if your pipes ARE frozen?  ACT QUICKLY!

Tip 1Locate the frozen area (most likely against an exterior wall or where the main water enters your home).  Turn on your faucets. If no water comes out, or just a trickle, then the pipe leading to the faucet is likely frozen

Tip 2:  Open the Faucet – Before you begin to thaw the pipe, you need to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into.  Be sure to open both hot and cold handles.  This will help relieve pressure in the system and will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe

Tip 3:  Begin the Thawing Process  Start near the faucet, then work your way down to the blockage.  This helps ensure the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet.  If you start trying to thaw closer to the blockage, melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst.

Tip 4:  Thawing Exposed Pipes that are easily accessible
            Can you access the frozen pipe?  If yes, try any of the options below.

  • Hair Dryer –  Simply turn the dryer on and point the heat at the pipe, starting with the portion closest to the faucet.
  • Heat Lamp or Portable Space Heater – Position the device so the heat is able to reach the frozen pipe.  The indirect heat can help to quickly thaw a pipe. 
  • Hot Towels – Wrap towels dipped in hot water around the pipe.  This can help to slowly thaw the blockage.
  • Electrical Heating Tape – Apply the tape directly to the pipe.  This distributes heat throughout the pipe.  You can purchase electrical heating tape that you plug in and unplug as needed or your can purchase heating tap that shuts off on its own. 

Tip 5:  Thawing Exposed Pipes that are NOT easily accessible
Are the frozen pipes enclosed and not easily accessed? Try these options.

  • Turn the Heat Up – Increasing the temperature in the room with the frozen pipes may be all that’s needed to allow the blocked ice to melt.
  • Infrared Lamp– If you know where in the wall the frozen pipe is located, you can attempt to thaw the blockage by placing an infrared lamp in front of the wall were the pipe is located.   The heat from the lamp may be able to penetrate the wall and allow the pipe to defrost.
  • Cut Out a Section of the Wall – If necessary, cut out the section of drywall in front of the frozen pipes so you can easily access the pipe.  You can then use of the methods above. 

Tip 6:  Things to Avoid
Never attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame, such as a propane torch.  This can not only damage the pipe, it can also start a fire.  
Tip 7: If the Pipe Bursts – Call Sage!
The first thing you should do is shut off the man water line to your property. This will prevent additional water from flooding and damaging your property.  Make sure you know where the main shut off valve is on your property.  It is located near your water meter.   You also have smaller shut-off valves near sinks and toilets.
What do you do if you have a flooding issue?

  • Hire a plumber to fix the bursted pipes. (Sage can refer you to reputable plumber)
  • Call Sage Restoration to remove the flooded water and restore your property back to it’s normal state.

Hopefully you will not experience frozen pipes this winter but if you do, follow the tips above to reduce any damage.  If you find  yourself with bursted pipes and water flooding your property, please give Sage Restoration a call  913 905 0500  We are open 24/7 with trained technicians ready to restore your property. 

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