Water expands when it freezes. The expansion creates pressure in whatever it is contained in causing it to break. During winter, water in the pipes could freeze and rupture the pipes. A frozen pipe can be inconvenient and can result in the loss of water. It can also be an expensive issue and knowing how to thaw the frozen pipes can come in handy.
Identifying Freezing Pipes
Lack of running water or water trickling out of the faucet is the first sign that the pipes are frozen. The other sign is frost accumulated on the pipes. This mostly applies for pipes that are easily visible. This is a warning even before you turn on the faucet. A damp wall is another sure sign of a frozen pipe. If the pipes that run through the walls burst, water will leak making the walls damp. You might also experience water dropping from the ceiling.
Turn Off the Water Supply
The first step is always to locate the frozen section. Open the faucets in the house to determine which areas are affected. After this, you should turn off the main water supply in the affected areas before you can commence the thawing process. When the block of ice starts to thaw, it might start leaking in places the pipes had busted. If the water supply is open you might lose gallons of water to the leaks.
Thawing the Pipes
Open faucets that correspond to the frozen pipe. They should remain open so as the frozen water starts to melt it can flow out the faucet. Thawing is done by applying heat to the frozen section of the pipe. There are different ways that you can apply heat. The first option is wrapping the thawed pipe with a hot towel that has been soaked in boiling water. Do this till the ice is completely thawed.
The other option is using a space heater or a blow dryer, do NOT use a torch as that is a fire hazard and can also damage the pipes. Additionally, you can add salt to frozen drains. Salt lowers the melting point of ice, causing it to melt at colder temperatures. Pour a tablespoon (15 mL) of salt down the drain, and give it time to act on the ice.
After all the ice has thawed, it is time to turn on the water supply and let the water flow through the pipes. Carefully check for any water leaks and if you identify any call a plumber to avoid further problems.
Dealing with Pipe Bursts
If you notice a pipe burst the first thing is to shut off the main water supply to avoid further water loss and flooding. To avoid any accidents turn off any electrical appliance. Then call a Utah plumber as soon as possible. Try to dry the water using sponges and towels. Pipe bursts can be an expensive affair and frozen pipes should be handled before they create an expensive mess.