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Fix Frozen Pipes

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If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area isn’t accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call the technicians at Leinbach Services.

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Plumbing tips for winter weather

Provide support to your pipes before winter months. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your inside plumbing for winter

Insulation

Insulate pipes that are located in unheated areas such as in the crawl space, attic, garage, or basement. You can use insulating tape or molded pipe sleeve and wrap it over the entire length of the exposed pipe. Cover all valves and pipe fittings with insulating tape or fiberglass.

Open

Open cabinet doors in your kitchen and bathrooms. Water lines that supply kitchens and bathrooms are frequently located in outside walls. If there are any air leaks in siding or insulation it can cause the pipes to freeze. Leaving your cabinet doors open when the temperature is below freezing allows pipes behind the cabinets to get more heat.

Shut off

If you are going out of town, shut off and drain your water system. Make sure you turn off your water heater before draining your system. Leaving your furnace or heat pump on a low setting helps, but may not prevent freezing. Turn off your main shut off valve then go through the house and turn on all faucets, sinks, tubs, showers, and flush your toilets. Meanwhile go back and remove the plug from the valve so that it can drain completely. Make sure when you are done that you retighten the valve and shut off all faucets.

Tune-up

Because your water heater works harder in the wintertime, you can flush out your water heater to remove sediment buildup that causes corrosion that will shorten the lifespan and reduces heating efficiency.

Constant temperature

Keep a constant temperature both day and night. Don’t turn your thermostat down at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

Frozen pipes symptoms

No water coming out of the faucet is a sign that you may have a frozen pipe. If you turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.

Pipes burst when the temperature goes below freezing because water expands as it freezes.

Unfreeze water pipes slowly

A frozen pipe will not always crack or burst, so thawing it out slowly is your best bet. Wrapping freezing pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape (from $50 to $200) is also an effective way to quickly thaw a trouble spot.

How to fix a frozen pipe:

  • Keep the faucet open. As the frozen pipe melts, water will begin to flow. Running water helps melt ice.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe. You can try wrapping an electric heating pad around the pipe, blowing a hair dryer or a portable space heater, or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Don’t thaw pipes using an open flame device, such as a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, or charcoal stove. Apply heat until you have full water pressure again.

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