Homeowner Information for Preventing & Thawing Frozen Pipes

winterize_your_home_360Winter means that homeowners will be putting their furnace through its paces to keep the home warm and comfortable for the residents inside. But not all houses are created equal in the way they distribute heat throughout the home.

While your home’s insulation may be sufficient to keep you and others comfortable, that heat may not reach every part of the structure, especially those parts where there are no people, such as places where electrical wiring or plumbing are built.

Throughout the rest of the year, this isn’t much of a problem at all, but a sustained winter, with temperatures below the freezing point can eventually cause the water in pipes to freeze. If that happens, it may mean you lose access to one faucet, or perhaps lose access to hot water—or all water—entirely, depending on the layout of your plumbing.

Frozen Pipe Prevention

Every home is going to be different, and it’s a combination of age, architecture, and environment that will determine whether some homes are at risk to freezing pipes and others are not. This doesn’t mean that your only choice is to be a victim, sit back, and endure freezing pipes every time a cold snap hits your area. There are four areas that you can concentrate on to help prevent frozen pipes, and they are:

  • Monitor external plumbing
  • Keep garage/attic doors and windows shut
  • Running hot water regularly
  • Using heating tape on vulnerable pipes

By keeping an eye on these factors, you can dramatically reduce the chances of a frozen pipe interfering with your household. But if you haven’t yet implemented these measures, there’s a chance that a long, sustained, drop in temperature may have already frozen your pipes. In many cases, you still have a do-it-yourself option to fix this.

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

heating_efficiency_winterize_home_360When a pipe has frozen, it’s important to remember that the ice that has formed inside the pipe is still extremely vulnerable to heat, and you have water pressure on your side. This means you don’t need a direct heat source like a torch applied right to the pipe. In most cases, this will simply cut through a metal pipe, or melt a PVC pipe, and in the worst case, you may cause a fire that can burn the entire structure down.

Indirect heating sources like heat lamps, space heaters and hair dryers are ideal for this job. Simply locate the portion of pipe where the freeze has occurred, and use your heater on the surrounding air for several minutes. Eventually, the heat will warm the pipe, which in turn will start to melt the ice inside. Once enough ice has melted enough, a faucet that is left running will generate sufficient water pressure to break up the rest of the ice, and you’ll restore your pipe to normal function.

If you have frozen pipes that are hard to reach, or you simply want some professional work done to ensure that your pipes stay warm and insulated throughout the colder parts of the year, you’ve come to the right place. Presco Plumbing & Drain can help you to keep your pipes working no matter how cold it gets outside. Contact us today at 416-242-6111 to see what we can do for you.