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How To Thaw Frozen Pipes and Prevent Water Damage Effectively


how to thaw frozen pipes


In winter, when the temperature drops, one major issue that can occur is a frozen pipe burst. Water that escapes from pipes due to sudden bursts can cause a lot of damage and interrupt the life of homeowners. A simple tiny pipe crack can bring out about 200 gallons of water, enough to ruin a home and cause severe water damage. Yet, preventing pipes to burst and knowing how to thaw frozen pipes (water supply pipes) in the first place, can keep you and your home from all the interruptions and repair costs water damage can cause.


Why Frozen Pipes Burst

During this cold season, when the temperature in a home drops to 20 degrees F, it is very common that water supply pipes to burst. When water freezes, it expands and this expansion adds pressure to the plumbing pipes. The expansion of water and pressure build-up can cause pipes to develop a tiny leak at a joint or a crack along the pipelines, releasing an ample amount of water inside a home.

No doubt that repairing a burst pipe can cost a lot. But, what is even more worrisome is the water damage from uncontrolled water leaks. This damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair. It’s really necessary to have an idea of how you can prevent this issue from happening especially in winter! Knowing how to thaw frozen pipes in your property may help you save from serious repairs and water damage.


Which Water Lines Are More Likely to Freeze

You, as a homeowner, must know how to locate the frozen pipes. Remember that some water pipes are susceptible to freezing in winter. In general, most homes in the northern climate install water pipes inside the building insulation. They are protected from subfreezing weather. However, the tiny holes that allow the air to flow inside the home and get in contact with the pipes can cause them to freeze and burst.

Moreover, exposed pipes located along the exterior walls of a home as well as pipes running through the attic, basement, crawl space, and unheated areas of the home are vulnerable to freezing. Also, the main water supply line can be at risk of freezing and bursting. Also, keep in mind that hot water pipes can freeze and eventually burst.

Insulation is the best solution for preventing pipes to freeze. Insulate pipes that run along the exterior wall of your home and pipes that are located in unheated areas. Moreover, open kitchen cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate the pipes. Learn the steps on how to thaw frozen pipes below.


How To Thaw Frozen Pipes

When faced with frozen pipes during cold weather, there are several steps you can take to thaw them safely.


To thaw frozen pipes, you can use a hairdryer, a heat lamp, or a space heater. Place an electrical heating tape around the pipe first before applying heat to it. You can also wrap the frozen area with a thermostatically controlled heat pad, which costs from $50-$200, depending on its length. Just keep in mind to never use a propane torch or any open flame devices to thaw a frozen pipe as it can lead to fire risk.

  • First, locate the shut-off valve for the affected pipe and turn it off to prevent any potential leaks.
  • Next, identify the frozen section of the pipe. One effective method to thaw the pipe is by using a hair dryer. Set the dryer to a low heat setting and direct the warm air along the length of the frozen pipe.
  • Alternatively, you can utilize a heating cable specifically designed for thawing pipes. Wrap the cable around the frozen section and plug it into a power source.
  • Allow the heat to gradually melt the ice within the pipe. Throughout the process, it’s important to monitor both hot and cold water faucets to ensure water flow is restored evenly once the pipe is completely thawed.
  • The real damage begins when the frozen water begins to thaw. This frozen water can act as a plug that prevents water to spill out through the cracks of the pipes. So when that water thaws, water bursts out from the pipe. It is best to be ready with a mop, a pail, or towels. 


What To Do When A Frozen Pipe Burst

When a pipe bursts, it can lead to significant water damage. That is why immediate action has to take place to prevent water from damaging your property. Here are the steps you can follow to deal with frozen pipe bursts. 

  • Shut Off the Main Water Supply Line

Everyone should know where the main water supply line is located. The faster you can turn off the valve, the lesser the damage could be. Moreover, if water starts to seep through walls or ceiling, turn off the main valve of your electricity to prevent any secondary damage and electrical shock. 

  • Call a Plumber 

Not all companies offer 24/7 emergency services. So, keeping a list of professional plumbers can fix any pipe issues immediately. The pipe repair cost depends on the severity of the damage and the location of the pipe. 

  • Contact Your Insurance Company 

If a pipe burst causes water damage to your home, contact your homeowner’s insurance company. In most cases, burst pipes are included and covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Be sure to talk to your insurance provider about the damage and the necessary repairs, so they can let you know the details of your coverage. 

  • Remove Standing water and Dry The Area 

You can use mops, towels, and buckets to remove standing water. If needed, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to seep the water faster. To prevent mold and mildew growth and moisture-related problems, set fans and dehumidifiers. Let them sit until the area is totally dry.


Water Damage Restoration Professionals on How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

water damage restorationIt is indeed not easy to deal with a frozen burst pipe because of its aftermath. Not only you will be faced with serious water damage, but if the problem is not addressed immediately, you will be dealing with mold growth. Knowing the steps above on how to thaw frozen pipes and seeking professional help is necessary to prevent serious water damage to your property! 

A professional water damage restoration company, like Water Damage Murrieta, will help you deal with all these problems. This company is certified to perform the standard procedures of restoration. They have technicians that are fully trained and skilled in dealing with all kinds of water damage and other related issues. They have enough experience to bring back the normal life of your home.

If you need our professionals to work with your water damage problems, please call us today


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