Frozen/Burst Pipes: Now What?

frozen pipes

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you get a pipe in your plumbing that either freezes or bursts. Anyone who lives in a climate that gets even a little cool risks these sorts of plumbing concerns, and they require quick, appropriate action. Here’s how to tell that you might have frozen pipes, and what you should do about it.

Identify the Problem

The first thing you need to do is determine what could be causing your problem. Frozen or burst pipes that are above ground are often easy to spot. Others can be difficult or impossible to see. There are ways to tell they are there, though. Anytime the temperature is consistently below 55 degrees, frozen pipes are a risk. The most common symptom is slow water pressure, or none at all. If your toilet drains but will not refill, you might have a frozen pipe. When you do not feel comfortable addressing the water flow issue, contact a Sacramento plumber for advice.

Prevent Water Damage

There are two issues to deal with when you have a frozen pipe. First, the frozen pipe blocks normal water flow. Second, once the pipe thaws, increased pressure behind the blockage can create leaks in weak pipes or connections. Before you do anything, turn off the main water shutoff valve in your home. The shutoff valve is a pipe with a handle that may be located in your basement or near your water heater or laundry equipment. The best thing you can do is to locate this valve when you are not experiencing a crisis and label it with a brightly-colored tag, so that it is easy to find in an emergency.

Thaw the Pipes

Frozen pipes that have not yet burst can be thawed if you can reach them. If the pipes froze because you went out of town and turned down the heat too far, simply warming up the home to a higher temperature may solve the problem. Otherwise, exposed pipes can be thawed using a space heater or hair dryer. If the frozen pipe is in your yard and you cannot reach it with appliances, even a hot washcloth may warm the pipe enough to allow water to flow. Do not use tools that rely on fuel, because this can cause a fire.

Address Burst Pipes

Burst pipes present different problems. Where you may be able to solve a frozen pipe without causing damage, a burst pipe is already damaged and requires repair from qualified plumbers in Sacramento. Shut off the home’s water supply. If you have not yet suffered water damage indoors, take steps to protect your home, your technological equipment and belongings. Contact a plumber immediately to fix the broken plumbing before you turn the water back on.
Burst pipes can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home, so they call for expedient action. Frozen pipes, if addressed promptly, will become more of an inconvenience to you than a true disaster. To keep your plumbing in good working order all winter long, contact us at Ace Plumbing.