Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 by Ellen Cagnassola
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't take a hard freeze to cause frozen pipes. During any prolonged period of outside temperatures as low as 20 degrees, exposed pipes in crawlspaces or uninsulated basements may freeze and are in danger of bursting. A 1/8-inch crack in a water supply line is enough to flood your home with 250 gallons of water a day. Therefore, it's more than a matter of convenience to thaw frozen pipes as soon as possible, particularly if exterior temperatures remain cold. Here are some steps to take on that cold morning when no water comes out of the tap and you suspect frozen pipes: Locate the frozen segment of pipe. Track all exposed segments backward from the faucet through basements, crawlspaces, the attic and any other uninsulated zones. Feel the pipe to detect the frozen area. A frozen pipe will feel substantially colder than a normal water pipe with circulating water. Once you've located a frozen section, first examine it for cracks or splits. If you find any, do not proceed with thawing and call a plumber. If the segment appears intact, use one of the following thawing methods:The safest method is to use old towels or burlap sacks to wrap the pipes tightly. Place a pan or bucket beneath to catch the water. Then, pour hot water on the wrapped pipe, soaking it thoroughly. If the hot water method is too messy, try using heat from an electric hair dryer or heat lamp. You'll have to apply heat to the pipe for a longer period but eventually it will thaw.
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