How to Handle Frozen Pipes

How to Handle Frozen Pipes

Pennsylvania, we know you’re feeling the cold this winter, but you know who else is feeling it? Your pipes. Just like you feel like you’re freezing in all this snow, your pipes could actually be freezing outside and inside your home. If you end up with frozen pipes, you’ll need to handle the problem before the pipes burst and leave you with a huge mess.

How to Handle Frozen Pipes

Find the Pipe:

You’ll usually be able to tell that a pipe if frozen if, when you turn on your nearby faucet, no water comes out or there’s only a trickle. This is typically a sign that there is ice blocking the water from flowing.

Handling a Frozen Pipe Behind a Wall

Frozen pipes that are located behind a wall are a bit harder to handle than ones that are exposed.

  • First, turn the heat up in your home and wait a bit for it to begin affecting the frozen pipe.
  • Cut a section of the drywall out to easily access the pipe, OR
  • Use an infrared lamp over the section of the wall you think the pipe is behind. Infrared lights will more effectively warm the wall and frozen pipe than regular heat lamps will.

Handling an Exposed Frozen Pipe

It’s important to thaw an exposed pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area to allow the water to flow out as ice melts. To thaw an exposed pipe, use a:

  • Hair Dryer: This is the safest way to do it. If the pipe is close to a wall, place a metal cookie sheet against the wall to radiate heat back onto the pipe.
  • Portable Heater: This works similarly to the hair dryer, just more powerfully, and is a good option for pipes under a sink or vanity.
  • Heat Lamp: If you go this route, choose a lamp with an infrared light as these work better.
  • Electric Pipe Heat Tape: This is basically a ribbon-like wrap that goes around your pipe and is plugged into the wall to turn on and warm a pipe.

When it comes to your home’s plumbing, the experts at Wahl Family Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can help. We’ve been serving the Pittsburgh metro area since 1989, so you know you can trust us to help you and your family. For more information or to schedule a service, call us at (412) 265-2662.