When most of us hear warnings about frozen water pipes, we don't usually panic. After all, how often do pipes freeze? Well, when temperatures get down in the teens and single digits as they are this week, you should heed the warnings. Extreme cold combined with wind chill substantially increases the chances that water supply pipes are going to freeze and that means one or more of your pipes may require a leak repair when the temperatures drop and your pipes begin to thaw.
Don’t throw in the towel, prepare your home and do everything possible to prevent your water pipes from freezing. The best weapons include insulation, the foam sleeve kind that fit over pipes as well as the fiberglass kind, which can be stuffed around pipes and into spaces near the pipes to keep them warm. If you have a trailer or a pier and beam home that is elevated off the ground, you’ll want to visit your local hardware store or home center and buy thermostat-controlled heat cables or “heat tape” that can be wrapped around exposed pipes and plugged into an electrical outlet. Once turned on, they’ll heat up and prevent water in the pipes from freezing. Word to the wise though, heat cables often sell out fast once people hear the weather forecast calling for extreme cold.
What can be done if the pipes freeze? Plenty. The battle isn’t over yet. Park a space heater near the frozen pipe. If it’s behind a wall, face the space heater a couple of feet away from the wall and begin to heat the wall. Don’t put it too close, you don’t want to start a fire! You can also use a hair dryer to great effect but never use an open flame. At Roto-Rooter, our plumbers are equipped with professional-grade pipe thawing equipment. We can usually thaw frozen pipes much faster than you can on your own. Unfortunately, if they are frozen solid, that could mean your pipes have suffered damage that could necessitate a repair. Often, people don’t know the pipes have been damaged until they thaw and begin spewing water. Remember that when water freezes and turns into ice, it expands. Something has to give and that often means the pipe splits or bursts. Did you ever put a can of beer in the freezer and forget about it? The can probably split open and so will your pipes.
Visit the Frozen Pipe Prevention Tips page on our website and follow the tips to the letter. They could save you a lot of money over the next few days. If you need fast emergency service, call Roto-Rooter at 1-800-768-6911.