Uh oh! My pipes froze…now what?

The weather we’re experiencing this winter is nothing less than abnormal and the way we’ve been going it feels like we’re going to see snowfall until about June.  Okay, so June may be a slight stretch, but extremely cold temperatures seem to be the norm and they aren’t going away anytime too soon.  Because of the days upon days of below freezing temperatures, we’ve been receiving a lot of calls regarding frozen pipes.  When in doubt, call an expert, but if you’re handy and want to undertake this project yourself, below are a few tips to make the process as simple as possible.

First off, if you’re going to attempt to thaw your pipes yourself, be careful and be prepared for the unexpected.  You never know when the frozen pipe might decide to burst due to expansion.  We’re not saying it will happen, but it’s always a possibility.  To prevent an even bigger mess than you already have on your hands, turn off your water at the source.  If the pipe breaks you’ll have much less of a mess to clean up if the only water that spills out is what was stuck in the pipe.  After you have turned off your water supply, open your faucet a little to give the melting ice a place to go when it starts to thaw (this will also release problem-causing pressure.)

Never, ever use an open flame of any sort to attempt to thaw your pipes.  This means no blow torches, candles, or even small pocket lighters anywhere near the problem because you could cause a fire, which is much worse than a frozen pipe.

If you own a space heater or can borrow one, it’s a good idea to turn it on in the area that the pipe is frozen.  Remember to keep it at least three feet away from anything potentially flammable and keep an eye on it.  This route will take awhile, but it does work by slowly heating up the room so the pipes will warm by proxy.  Hair dryers can also be used to melt the frozen spots, but do this very cautiously.  There is the risk of electrocution if the pipes drip on the dryer, so be vigilant and keep it moving.  Keep the hair dryer at least six inches away from the pipe and have it in motion at all times.  We also recommend heating the sides and top and keeping it away from the bottom to lessen the risk of being dripped on.   Lastly, warmed towels can be wrapped around the pipes to bring some heat to the source of the problem.

While the home remedies can usually help small frozen areas, we highly recommend calling a professional for any widespread or unknown amounts of freezing.  If anything seems out of the ordinary, you hear cracking, or become uneasy about the project, call us immediately.  Trust us, it’s much cheaper to have us thaw your pipes than repair or replace broken ones.

If you suspect you have a frozen pipe or other plumbing issue, give the Bel-O Man a call at (618) 509-9995.  You can also visit our website at www.beloman.com or swing by our office at:

5909 Cool Sports Rd

Belleville, IL 62223