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So Your Pipes Froze, Now What?

Icicles hanging from a brown pipe. Frozen water and metal surface, winter time concept. selective focus shallow depth of field photoSpring is officially here, and soon enough temperatures will begin to warm up. Hopefully, you didn’t have any major household problems over winter. One of the most common household issues we receive calls for during this time of the year is that of frozen pipes. There are a couple things you can do before winter starts to prevent this from occurring at all.

First, you should open your faucets to drain any existing water left in pipes that won’t be used over the winter. Second, you should insulate vulnerable pipes. But what if you didn’t know these tips, or were surprised by how cold the weather got and now you are, in fact, dealing with frozen pipes?

The Problem with Frozen Pipes

At the discovery of frozen pipes, the first thing you should do is call a professional plumber in Columbus, MN. Trying to thaw out a pipe on your own can be hazardous, leading to a massive plumbing mess and potential injury, caused by burst pipes. But how does this happen?

When water freezes, its volume expands. This is because the molecular structure of the ice is different (it’s hexagonal) than liquid water, and therefore takes up more space. If you’ve ever put a glass bottle of water or soda in a fridge you might have come back to realize the glass was cracked or even completely shattered—this is why.

When your pipes freeze, there’s an increase of pressure within the pipes, pushing any remaining water toward closed faucets. This creates a large pressure build-up, which can lead to lateral bursting along your plumbing pipes. The part of your plumbing in the most danger is the “upstream” section, since the water on the other side still has plenty of space to absorb the pressure rise.

This pressure is actually more of a danger during the thawing process than the actual freezing process. Trying to thaw pipes on your own could inadvertently cause the pipes to burst due to the increased pressure you’ll be placing on the pipes.

As a diligent homeowner, this is what you shouldn’t do if you encounter frozen pipes:

  • Try to use a space heater or torch to thaw out the affected piping. As we stated, trying to thaw the pipes on your own can cause them to burst. This is dangerous for your property but also for your safety.
  • Use a hair dryer to thaw out the pipes. First off, this isn’t enough heat to completely thaw your pipes Plus, it probably goes without saying that it’s not wise to use a hair drying in a place that you’ll likely encounter water.
  • Ignore them and hope they’ll thaw out without trouble.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Call our staff for professional plumbing services.
  • Open up the faucet at the end of a frozen pipe—this will help relieve the pressure within the pipe and lessen the chances of a burst pipe.

Contact Air Mechanical, Inc. today for reliable plumbing services! We’re happy to share tips and tricks with you to help you avoid plumbing problems now and in the future.

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