During the winter season, you may be spending more time inside to escape the freezing temperatures outside. While you may not freeze, your pipes just might! Prevention is preferred, but sometimes we aren’t always prepared for unexpected winter storms or a sudden temperature drop. So, what now? Here are a few ways to handle frozen pipes this winter.
First Things First- Open Up the Faucet
Before you begin, you’ll need to open up the faucet that the frozen pipe supplies. As you quickly increase the temperature of the pipe, that ice will turn to water, and that water may even turn into steam. If your faucet remains shut off, that steam is trapped within. This causes pressure to build up and the pipes to burst. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up doing the very thing you’re trying to avoid. After you’ve opened up the faucet, you’re safe to proceed onto one of the thawing methods below.
The classic hair dryer method works when you’re in a pinch! The trick to executing this method well is slowing and continuously moving it up and down the length of the pipe until water starts to trickle. Let the water run for a while to ensure the pipe is completely clear.
Note: For your safety, make sure that you’re standing on dry ground and that your dryer is plugged into a GFCI protected outlet.
Use electric heat tape to slowly bring your pipes back to the proper temperature. This method reduces wear and tear on your pipes and is easy to do. If frozen pipes are a recurring issue for you, it will be well worth it to invest in some electric heat tape. It’s inexpensive thing to have on hand, and if you do need it, you’ll be glad it’s there. Keep in mind, a single layer is all it takes to restore the flow of water. Layering the electric tape is a fire hazard you should avoid.
If the other two methods aren’t viable for you, wrap the pipes with several layers of towels and pour hot water over the top. You’ll need to repeat this process several times before the water can begin to flow. Once it starts to trickle, keep the faucet on until the water is able is able to flow normally. Though tedious, this method is your best bet without a source of electricity nearby.
To Sum It Up…
While keeping your pipes warm should always be your first plan, when that doesn’t work out, you’ll be to be able to thaw them quickly and safely. Frozen pipes are one of the most common winter dilemmas hundreds of households face every year. However, with the proper preparation and knowledge, you should be able to restore the flow of water to you home in no time.
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