How to Deal with Frozen Plumbing Pipes

Frozen Pipes

As winter sets in with its icy grip, Southern Wisconsin homeowners face a common and potentially damaging and costly issue – frozen plumbing pipes. Plummeting temperatures, especially overnight, can wreak havoc on pipes, not only preventing water from flowing, but also leading to bursts and water damage if not addressed promptly.

But with a little forethought and swift action, you can save yourself the headache and expense of such a scenario. Read on as we explore what you can do if you find yourself dealing with a frozen plumbing pipe during these winter months.

Identifying Frozen Pipes

The first step in addressing a frozen plumbing pipe is identifying the affected area. Cold spots on the pipe, visible frost, or a complete lack of water flow from a particular faucet are telltale signs. The pipe in question will most likely be in a basement, crawl space, attic, exterior wall, or under a sink. Quick action is essential to thaw the pipe and prevent it from bursting. Take the following steps to protect your plumbing and your home:

Shut off the water supply. Before attempting any remedies, locate your main water supply valve and turn it off. This helps minimize potential damage should the pipe have already burst or does so while being worked on.

Open the faucets connected to that pipe. This will relieve pressure on the non-frozen portions of the pipe.

Check for leaks or cracks. If you can see that the pipe is cracked or has already burst, do not attempt any additional DIY measures and call a professional plumber immediately.

Attempt to thaw the pipe. If the pipe is easily accessible, you can try one of the below methods to thaw it, but it's essential to proceed with caution to avoid causing additional damage. Never use open flames or high-intensity heat sources, as they can damage the pipes and pose a fire hazard.

Here are some things to try:

  • Warm towels: Start by wrapping warm towels around the frozen section of the pipe. Carefully pour hot water over the towels to slowly thaw the ice.
  • Hair dryer: Use a hairdryer to apply gentle heat to the frozen section of the pipe, beginning at the open end of the pipe and working your way towards the blockage. Keep the heat source moving to prevent overheating.
  • Space heater: If the frozen section is in an accessible and open area, a space heater can be employed to gradually raise the temperature. Ensure proper ventilation and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Prevent Future Freezing

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take these proactive measures to safeguard your plumbing during winter and prevent pipes from freezing in the first place.

  • Insulate vulnerable pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
  • Check for and seal any gaps or cracks in your home's exterior that allow cold air to enter.
  • When temperatures plummet, allow a small stream of water to flow through faucets connected to exposed pipes to prevent them from freezing.
  • Keep your home adequately heated while you’re away, especially during extreme cold spells.

If you suspect that one of your plumbing pipes has frozen, or worse – burst, contact Blau Sudden Service right away. Our team of highly trained plumbing professionals is ready to address all your plumbing issues. And with same-day and emergency service, upfront pricing, and a satisfaction guarantee, you can rest assured we’ll get things flowing again promptly and to your complete satisfaction. Call us today at 1-800-Blau-Now.