In St. Paul, Minneapolis, Minnesota, we can rely on two things. Winters are brutal and pipes will freeze! Minnesota is known for its lakes and abundance of water. In the winter, all of that water turns to ice and while frozen lakes may be beautiful during the winter months, frozen pipes, on the other hand, are anything but!
Water freezing in your pipes is like a bully on a playground. It will pick on the weakest spot in your plumbing and attack that spot until it gives up. That spot that gives up results in a ruptured water pipe that will turn your basement into an indoor water park!
Identifying Your Problems and Your Problem Spots
There are some tattle-tale signs of frozen pipes in your St.Paul, Minneapolis home. Hopefully, if you catch the frozen pipe and properly tend to it, you can prevent a frozen pipe from rupturing.
Let’s look at some symptoms you can easily recognize when your pipes are frozen.
- Little to no water coming from your faucet. Most people brush their teeth first thing every morning. If you turn on your faucet and water comes out, just enough to wet your toothbrush, try turning it off and on a couple of times. If the water stops after a couple of tries, you have a frozen pipe. Better to find out now than with a mouth full of toothpaste
- Ice sculptures around your outside hydrants. When preparing for winter conditions it is easy to forget those outside hydrants, water hoses, and sprinklers. Even though it’s winter, and you don’t need those items, they can still provide frozen water with a path of the least resistance giving you an unaddressed problem spot.
- Gushing water sound from under the house or in the basement. If you are awakened by the sound of gushing water chances are one of your water pipes has ruptured and is turning the area directly around it into a water holding facility. On the bright side, you know exactly where the repair will be needed in most cases!
- Uninsulated piping you said you would address when you have the time! Yeah, these are the problem spots that freezing water inside pipes loves to exploit! They are also fond of creating massive amounts of property damage!
Now that you have a frozen pipe, here are two things you never want to do!
- Do not ignore the problem! Plumbing and plumbing fixtures have come a long way, but there are still no brands of pipe or fixtures that will repair themselves! When frozen pipes are discovered it is important to clear those frozen lines and repair or replace them as needed.
- Never try to thaw a frozen pipe using a blow torch! Using a blow torch to thaw a pipe not only creates a fire hazard around the pipe, but it also can cause the frozen pipe to overheat, creating a steam line that is as dangerous if not more than the frozen pipe!. Blowtorches and water pipes do not play well together.
Arm yourself with the following tips and tricks to ward off frozen pipe issues and hopefully avoid the trouble caused by ruptured water pipes.
Tips and Tricks for Getting Ahead of the Frozen Water Pipe Curve!
Just a few items addressed can be the difference between water flowing into your home the right way, or through an opening in the ruptured pipe!
If you haven’t had a ruptured pipe yet due to a frozen water pipe this might be your defining moment in warding them off forever! If you have been the unfortunate one over the past few seasons and had to repair several pipes, this may be the information you have been looking for!
Either way, look at these tips and tricks to avoid the whole frozen pipe issue altogether!
- Leave a trickle of water running. It takes a bit more for moving water to freeze. If you leave a trickle running at all of your faucets you will also do your part in keeping those drain lines from freezing too! It doesn’t have to be much more than a steady trickle.
- Open vanity cabinets and kitchen sink base cabinets. During this time of year, count on heating these spaces as well as the rest of the house. These areas directly under sinks are a vulnerable spot for frozen water lines.
- Insulate any exposed pipes. This is the best thing you can do for the plumbing in your home during winter. Keeping cold temperatures away from pipes by insulating them is the most cost-effective insurance policy you can buy for protecting your pipes!
- Keep thermostat above 55 degrees at all times! If you vacation during the winter or spend the holidays out of town, don’t set your thermostat any lower than 55 degrees. This will keep enough warmth in the house to keep pipes from freezing!
Now let’s look at how to clear a frozen water pipe if the need arises.
Frozen Pipe Clearing
If you have a frozen pipe, and you think you have caught it before it has caused any further damage, you can clear the frozen pipe in a few easy steps.
- Put a space heater close to the frozen pipe. Raising the surrounding temperature is the most successful way to clear a frozen line. Just be sure you can stay present for the whole process and keep an eye on the space heater as they can be dangerous to operate.
- Try using a hair blow-dryer. Pretty much the same principle as the space heater just keep the heat moving along the pipe and try not to let it burn hot in one place for too long creating additional problems!
- CALL A PROFESSIONAL!
The best protocol for addressing a frozen pipe clearing issue is by contacting a professional, like the team of dedicated professionals at Metro Heating and Cooling. We can address your frozen pipe issues while you relax knowing you have put your frozen water pipes in the hands of experts!
Why not give this team a call or go by their website and see how easy clearing a frozen water pipe can be!