How to tackle frozen pipes within the home.
It would appear the cold snap is here to stay, with more low temperatures forecast in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Central Scotland as a whole over the next week. Lets be prepared. In this latest blog, I provide some great tips on reducing the damage frozen pipes can cause your home.
If your pipes begin to freeze over, take preventative measures before they potentially burst and cause extensive damage.
Should you suspect the problem is a frozen pipe, this blog will help you locate the blockage, thaw it and ensure your pipes won’t freeze again.
Maybe you've found yourself without water? The first thing you should do is check whether your neighbours are experiencing the same. If so, the lack of water will most likely be a problem in the mains supply and you will need to contact your water company.
However, if you’re the only one without water, you will likely have a frozen pipe. It’s critical to try and thaw this blockage as soon as possible as any expansion could cause a burst, leading to water leaking from the break.
Thaw the pipe
The following steps should assist in getting things back to normal.
Step 1: Identify the blockage
If a pipe is frozen, you will need to find out where that blockage is before taking action to resolve. You can identify the location by:
- Examining for evidence of freezing along the pipes.
- Using your hands to feel along the pipe until you reach a section that feels much colder than the rest. You might find it useful to compare the temperature of the suspected blocked pipe to that of a pipe where you know the water is flowing freely.
Bear in mind that during very cold weather, you could find multiple frozen areas within the same pipe. This is particularly prevalent in exposed sections of pipe such as those exposed to draughts or where a pipe enters your property.
Step 2: Protect possessions
If a pipe does appear to be frozen, protect items around it to avoid any damage should it burst. Move small items out of the way and cover up any larger items.
Step 3: Turn off the mains tap
You should find this under the kitchen sink or wherever the service pipes enter your home. If you have a cold water tank, turn off the stopcock which is commonly found in the attic or loft.
Step 4: Run the nearest tap
Open the cold tap nearest to the section of pipe that is frozen. This will allow water to flow away when it melts.
Step 5: Start thawing
Armed with a hairdryer, carefully thaw the ice in the pipe (begin at the tap end and work backwards toward the cold water supply). Take extra care as the pipe could burst at any moment and spray water as it begins to thaw.
If you don’t have a hairdryer to hand, you can slowly thaw out the frozen pipe by covering with hot water bottles or a heat pack.
NEVER use a naked flame or a heat gun as this will likely damage your pipes and is also a fire hazard.
Step 6: Check pipe for damage
Once you've successfully thawed out your pipe, check it thoroughly for any sign of damage or leakage. If the pipe is damaged, you will need to call on the services of an emergency plumber to resolve the problem.
Step 7: Turn the taps on
Once the blockage has been resolved, turn on the stop tap or stopcock and run the water until normal flow is restored.
A burst or frozen pipe in your home can cause you a whole lot of hassle and expense. Following this advice will I hope avoid such dramas.
Keep warm, stay safe and watch out for my next article with further tips for protecting your home this winter.