Leaks. Water damage. Burst pipes. Mold. Mildew. These are all potential repercussions you might have to deal with if a pipe freezes inside your home. So, what should you be on the lookout for the next time temperatures dip below freezing? We’re here to go over five common signs that your pipes are frozen and what you can do to remedy the situation until the plumber arrives.
Are All Pipes At Risk of Freezing?
Generally speaking, any pipe that carries water could potentially freeze if you’re not careful, or didn’t take proper preventative measures in order to insulate the pipe.
With that said, there are a few areas of a home that generally house pipes that are more susceptible to freezing than others. These areas include the attic, the garage, the basement or any areas of the house where pipes are located along exterior walls.
Think of it like this, any area of the house that is unheated or that tends to be much colder than the rest of the house, can cause stagnant water inside pipes to freeze.
5 Signs Your Pipes Are Frozen
Frost Formation: take a look around your house for pipes located in the areas mentioned above. You may notice frost forming on or around these pipes. Even if you see the slightest bit of frost, it could mean water inside the pipe has already begun freezing.
Strange Sounds: notice strange noises coming from the toilet when you flush or from the faucet when you turn on the water in the sink or the bathtub? This can be a result of air that is having trouble escaping to the sewer lines due to ice forming inside of the pipes. It’s also important to keep your ears open for whistling, banging or clanking.
Low Water Pressure: if you normally don’t have issues with low water pressure and then all of a sudden the faucets and shower heads are reduced to a trickle, or no flow of water at all, this could also be a sign there’s a blockage due to ice somewhere in the pipes. Be sure to check on all of the faucets and showers to find out which ones are affected.
Unpleasant Odors: frozen water inside a pipe can prevent sewer odors from escaping properly. After all, if there’s ice blocking a pipe, there’s only one way for that stench to go — up into the living areas of your home.
Bulging Pipes: this may be one of the most obvious signs — pipes can swell or bulge due to pressure building up inside and this is what leads to burst pipes. If you notice bulging or swelling, call in a plumber right away!
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
It’s always best to call in a plumber as soon as possible if you suspect a frozen pipe, but chances are, you’re not the only one dealing with this issue and the local plumbing company could be a bit backed up with service calls.
First, you’ll want to turn off the water to that area of the house and then open up the faucet or showerhead nearby to alleviate pressure should the ice begin to defrost.
You can apply heat to the area of the pipe that has frozen using a heating pad or a hair dryer. Refrain from using an open flame (blow torch, lighter, candle, etc.) at all costs as these items can do severe damage to the pipe as well as the surrounding building materials.
Even if these solutions help you thaw out the pipe, it’s still best to get an expert in to inspect the situation and to make sure you don’t run into any trouble again in the near or distant future.
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