How to fix frozen pipes and when to call the professionals


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We participate in Amazon Services LLC Associates, our advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and its affiliate sites. One of the worst things on the planet is waking up on a cold winter morning without water. Frozen tubes happen frequently and always at the worst possible time. A plumber will cost you a small fortune to fix frozen pipes. This means no shower, no coffee, and likely no breakfast. Calling a plumber is the last thing anyone will want. The good news is that often, you can fix frozen pipes on your own. But knowing when to call a professional and how to prevent frozen tubes is also good. What causes pipes to freeze? Cool of course, but it doesn’t work on its own. When pipes freeze, it is caused by inadequate preparation for cold weather. In this regard, there are many things homeowners can do before cold strikes to protect their pipes. Just a short list of preventive measures: Insulating sensitive pipes Heat up the space around the pipes Let the water run down on freezing nights We will discuss each of them with a more in-depth look at a later reading: How to remove a toilet clog without a plunger What happens when the frozen pipes do not fit? The extent of damage can range from mild to severe. Mark the area of ​​the frozen tube first. Most of the time, this will be in your basement or crawl space under your home. For houses on a slab foundation, most of the pipes will likely be routed through the attic. If the pipes are only frozen but not broken or cracked, you can fix them by melting the tubes. The damage that can result from freezing water expands. When trapped inside a solid object, such as a tube, this expansion can cause the tubes to burst. As shown in the image below, the ice has expanded over the joint, leaving behind an expanding wound. Image from Wikimedia Commons under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license Much of the damage from frozen pipes is not caused by freezing pipes, but from water if the tube bursts. Once the tube has burst, the only way to repair it is to replace this portion of the tubing. There are many instances when a homeowner can complete repairs. We recommend contacting a professional any time you feel overwhelmed. Many home insurance policies have provisions for fixing frozen pipes. Check your policy and be aware of it before starting a repair. In some cases, failure of home repair – may result in the cancellation of insurance coverage, so please read your policy carefully. What do you mean “flood the basement?” Having a flooded basement is never fun. If you have a heated basement, you won’t usually encounter frozen tubes along most pipes. You may have problems with the lines leading to the outdoor fixtures. Image from Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0 Another potential problem is the main stack drain line that transports wastewater. This streak is vented through your roof and can freeze, as shown in the image above. Depending on the age of your home, you’ll likely have a ground drain as well. With small amounts of water leaking into a basement drain through a floor drain, freezing can also occur between your home and the main sewer line. This prevents the water from draining properly and may cause a flood. Being aware of your home’s drainage and water system is an excellent way to stay prepared. This video describes a typical home plumbing system: if it looks like snow, then it’s probably snow. The first sign of a frozen tube is that there is no water pressure. If nothing is coming out of the tap, it is time to check the tubes. This should only take a few minutes. The tubes will generally freeze at their most vulnerable point. Along exterior walls, in uninsulated attic spaces or garages, or at entry points attached to the exterior of your home. If you are not sure that the tube is frozen, treat it as if it was frozen. How to repair frozen pipes Knowing how to fix frozen pipes can provide a package of plumbing fees. It can also help you prevent major water damage in your home if you have explosive poop. Tools You Need First, Mandatory Warning – Do Not Use A Flame To Defrost Frozen Pipes. Just because you saw a plumber do this last year doesn’t mean you should try it this year. You likely won’t need everything on this list. Most of the items are everyday household items. We just reuse them to melt your tubes. However, here are some things that will be helpful if you need to fix frozen pipes: a hair dryer with adjustable heat settings or an electric heated gun for a small area electric heating pad cookie sheet or any other reflective surface Once the thaw is complete, you may need Take a trip to the hardware store to get spare parts to fix the burst tube. Tape won’t work here, but we’ll discuss that shortly. Use a blow dryer to melt the tubes Before starting this task open all faucets so you know when the water will start flowing. First, you need access to the tube. Once you find the frozen tube, you will need a hair dryer and the guaranteed cookie sheet. Place the cookie behind the frozen piping area. The purpose of the plate is to concentrate the warm air from the hair dryer, and reflect it onto the tube. If you do not have a cookie, you can use a similar item to serve the same purpose. Wrap a piece of scrap cardboard in aluminum foil will work at a rebound. Using your hair dryer on a low to medium temperature, concentrate the warm air on the tube section, moving back and forth over the surface. This may take some time, so be patient. Once the water is moving freely, you will hear it pouring from your open taps. Use a small heater to warm the area Open the faucets in your home before beginning this process. If you do not have a hairdryer or cannot have direct access to the area where the tube was frozen, you can use a small portable heater. Try to make the heater as close as possible to the frozen section, but not directly under any pipes. While you might want to switch it to the highest setting, don’t. Since the tubes in crawl spaces are usually in confined spaces, they should not be time consuming. Remember, you are not trying to raise the temperature to 72 degrees – you only need it above 32 degrees. Please do not leave the heater unattended. Place the heater near the pipes but not directly below them. With a blower, small heaters push heat a few feet away from the base. This should be sufficient to warm the area, allowing the pipes to melt. Waiting for Mother Nature Pro advice – don’t wait for Mother Nature. Unless you expect a 20-degree rise in temperature within 30 minutes, waiting can worsen your problem. It is preferable to use a hair dryer. Alternately, you can warm the area with a small fireplace. If all you have is a heating pad, you can wrap it around the pipe and run it. Use the low setting, and don’t forget to open the faucets. Recommended reading: 5 effective ways to repair an air lock in pipes What to do if the pipes burst? Overall, this is the point where you call the pros. But some homeowners are comfortable fixing the pipes themselves. If this is you – kudos. Do-it-yourself blast pipe repair We won’t provide much detail on pipe replacement here. Some shortcuts and quick fixes can keep you rolling so you can get a plumber to check things out, though. Probably the fastest temporary solution is to use the Fix-It Stick from Oatey. You can buy this online or at most local hardware and plumbing stores. It is designed for pinhole leaks, and may not work well with a big bang tube. Fix-It Stick is easy to use and requires no plumbing knowledge. Using SharkBite fittings and PEX tubing are another quick way to replace copper tube sections. The video below explains the processes for this type of repair. You’ll need some special tools and equipment, though: When to call the professionals This really depends on your level of self-confidence. Our goal was to help you gain the confidence to handle frozen tubes yourself. Although it is not possible to control all the frozen pipes, often a homeowner can thaw the pipes without a problem. Prepare for winter weather Ultimately, avoiding frozen pipes should be your goal as a homeowner. While equipping pipes in the winter may cost a few dollars, the cost resulting from frozen pipes may be much higher. Adding pipe insulation Adding a layer of insulation foam is a quick way to prevent frozen pipes. As mentioned in the video above, it is easy to work with foam. Simply measure your tubes and buy the quantity you need. An important note is that you do not need to insulate every pipe in your home. Focus on tubes that are most exposed to freezing. These will be the pipes that run along the outer walls, which go to the outdoor fixtures, or in the unheated crawl space. Using an Incandescent Lamp If you cannot insulate your pipes, an easy way to warm the area around weak tubes is to use a low-wattage incandescent bulb. The illustrator style clip lamp works really well. The incandescent bulb generates enough warmth to keep the temperature a little higher. This trick works well in crawl spaces and under sinks. If you have a well, using the lamp near the inlet tubes can prevent cold water from freezing the pump. Remember to check the light bulb before retiring on really cold nights. VIVOSUN Clamp Lamp Light with Detachable 8.5 Inch Aluminum Reflector … Solid Structure: With a non-perishable spring clamp on the handles, the clamp is a little difficult to open but this only ensures the lamp … Flexible: With a ball joint joint so it can be steered more easily . Practical: The inverter definitely improves the efficiency of the light bulb, and the metal cover can be separated from the basic fluorescent bulbs which do not generate enough heat, so make sure you use incandescent lamps. Leave water droplets on cold nights This last method is the least reliable, and should only be used if you cannot insulate the tubes or leave the light on. This method is not always fail-safe and your tubes can freeze. Leaving the faucets slightly open helps a trickle of water flow which is better than nothing. Running water helps prevent complete freezer clogging. Although your pipes may still be partially frozen, they will not solidify, which reduces the risk of bursting of pipes. Always run at least two taps, hot and cold. You want a good droplet, but not a full stream of water. We recommend the kitchen faucet and bathroom faucet farthest from the entrance or hot water heater. This allows water to flow through the entire system. Your home is an investment worth protecting This video explains everything we discussed above. Often times you can fix frozen pipes without calling a plumber. We hope that we have helped you build confidence in your capabilities. Let us know what you think in the comments. Let us know if you have any tricks to use during cold picks to protect your home from Jack Frost. Last update 2021-02-12 at 06:15 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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