How to Melt Frozen Pipes in Winter?
Frozen pipes can rupture and cause damage worth thousands of dollars. If you want to thaw your pipes and avert major problems, what precisely would you do? The simplest way is to call a local plumber; however, there are a couple of tricks that you can first try, to see if you can repair the problem on your own, which will also help you to save considerable money in the process. You can try home remedies that are mentioned below to thaw your pipes before you pick up the phone to call a plumber.
If Possible Prevent Pipes from Freezing
To shield pipes from freezing, the best way is to keep your pipes in good working shape. A good heating system and adequate insulation are vital for keeping your pipes from freezing in a colder climate. Thermostats should never be set below 14 degrees Celsius if you live in an area where temperatures often fall below -18 degrees Celsius – this is because homes have cold air infiltration, which has to be conquered by the heating system. Furthermore, if the heating system is unable to preserve heat in the outside walls, the cold air will freeze pipes in or around the outer walls of the structure. So, what needs to be done? If you have a pipe in danger of freezing, you can cover it with electric heat tape, which plugs into an electrical socket and will discharge heat along its length to maintain the pipe warm. Foil paper and even fibreglass insulation might also work.
Get that Hair Dryer Out
You realise that you have passed from the prevention point and now you want to thaw your pipes. Begin with a hair dryer, however, bear this in mind – The hair dryer must be placed in a way so that it can warm up the pipe precisely where the block is or remain as near as possible to the frost blockage. In case, you don’t know the accurate location of the blockage then you may need to take some detective work. Indeed, it is safe to use a hair dryer on galvanised water lines, copper water lines as well as on any line that is made of metal.
You should verify the “heat rating” in case you have a non-metal pipe because there are many pipes that are manufactured from plastic, which can only endure temperatures of 82 degrees Celsius and there are hair dryers, which generates air that could thaw the piping.
Allow the Water to Flow
If the pipes are just beginning to freeze, just open your tap and allow the water to flow through – this is the alternative method to thaw your pipes. The flowing water aids to melt the frozen lines by thawing the ice.
Whether you allow cold or hot water to flow – this holds true. You may reason – Why? It’s simply like the water in a flowing river. Although, some of the river’s surface may freeze a bit, the ice is very thin and the river by no means stops flowing. So, this is precisely the reason why it works – “The flowing water produces friction against the surface of the ice, which raises the temperature a bit above freezing that in turn melts the ice”.
Invest in a Thawing Machine
In case, you live in an area that experience very cold winters, a thawing machine could well save you from calling a plumber often.
You might be thinking as to – what a thawing machine is? A thawing machine is very much similar to a small welder wherein one of the electrical leads is fixed to the metal pipe on one side of the ice block and the second lead is fixed to the pipe on the other side of the obstruction. Here, the thawing machine starts to heat the pipe in between. This is certainly an excellent alternative for metal pipes, but this method won’t work for plastic pipes.
When to Call In Professional Local Plumber
If you have tried the above methods, yet nothing had worked for you then it might be just the right time to call in professional local plumber before frozen pipe bursts and you finish up with a much bigger problem on your hands.
Professional plumbers often handle frozen pipe problems on a frequent basis; thus, they have the required experience to comprehend where the pipes are freezing through extrapolation. Professional plumbers have already solved many plumbing problems of numerous households and have had the opportunity to see through different pipes and how it runs through; thus, they promptly know common plumbing layouts better than homeowners.