Anyone who’s experienced a situation in which bitterly cold winter temperatures have frozen their pipes and caused them to burst can tell you it’s not a fun situation. “Nightmarish” might be a more appropriate description. The below-freezing temperatures and lack of water circulation can put just about any pipe in a situation where it will freeze up and potentially burst.
Some homeowners will misguidedly attempt to unfreeze pipes with an open flame in their efforts to get the water flowing again. This is extremely dangerous! Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heater or any other tool or device that involves an open flame, as this can lead to lead to a devastating house fire.
Just because your pipes have frozen doesn’t mean all is lost. At Old World Plumbing, we have extensive experience utilizing pipe-thawing techniques for our customers throughout Kane, Kendall, Cook and DuPage Counties.
Pipe-thawing services in Kane, Kendall, Cook and DuPage counties
Residents of Kane, Kendall, Cook and DuPage Counties can tell you how brutal their winters tend to be. Many have faced a frozen-pipe situation. Old World Plumbing offers a range of pipe-thawing services, including:
- Frozen pipe thawing
- Frozen pipe repair
- Emergency pipe thawing
- Preventative measures to keep pipes from freezing
- Burst pipe repair
- Electric pipe defrosting
Signs that you need frozen pipe thawing or repair services
The most common areas where pipes become frozen is in improperly insulated parts of a home, like a garage or crawlspace. Non-insulated outside walls that have water lines in them are also a common trouble area when the cold temperatures move in for an extended period of time.
For most residents, lack of water pressure is the first sign that they have a frozen pipe problem. In more dire situations, the presence of floodwater in the house is evidence that a pipe has burst. Should you see a split in your pipe, or a layer of ice around the outside of your pipe, do not attempt to thaw the line because you will cause water damage.
If you see these signs, you could have a burst pipe and need to call Old World Plumbing:
- Low water pressure
- Damp spots in the walls and on the floor or ceiling
- Sound of dripping/running water
- Puddles on the floor
Some plastic and copper pipes when exposed to extreme cold will cause the water to freeze inside. When water freezes, it expands. Copper and plastic pipes do not accommodate this expansion and will burst. Even a tiny crack in a line can result in the release of hundreds of gallons of water over a 24-hour period.
Frozen water pipe prevention to avoid major problems
Properly insulating pipes is the top method of preventing frozen lines. A good heating system that radiates in all the areas where pipes are present is also an excellent preventive measure. Because Chicagoland can literally experience weeks of freezing temperatures, the thermostat should never be set below 58 degree Fahrenheit. Otherwise, the temperature in the walls could drop below freezing, negatively impacting the pipes within.
Leaving the cabinet doors open under bathroom and kitchen sinks is recommended in extreme situations, as this allows the heat from the house to reach the water pipes. Heat tape can also be applied to those pipes that are at risk of freezing.
Homeowners can also turn on their tap and run the water to rid the lines of ice that has begun to accumulate. The friction of the running water keeps the water flowing, preventing further ice build up.
While it is a slow and tedious process, a handheld electric hair dryer can also be used to thaw pipes. However, the dryer must be pointed directly at the areas that are affected. Most plumbers who have been called to a home for frozen or burst pipes can attest to the number of homeowners who have broken out the hair dryers in a failing effort to remedy their frozen pipe problem.