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The Right and Wrong Way to Thaw Frozen Pipes
When pipes freeze and thaw over and over again, the pressure can force them to burst since water expands when it freezes. That’s why it’s important to find a long-term solution to freezing pipes (and because you don’t want to lose access to water!). However, if you are looking for a temporary solution to keep water moving in a pipe that has frozen unexpectedly, we have some advice.
Applying Heat to Frozen Pipes
Here’s what you should do to thaw out those pipes.
Open the faucets. As the pipes heat up, the running water will further assist ice in melting.
Apply heat. You can do this by wrapping a heating pad around the pipes. In a pinch, some people use warm towels. You could use a space heater as well; just be sure you never leave it unattended. And a favored method amongst homeowners is a hair dryer.
Turn on the heat. To speed the process along and keep water flowing, make sure heat from the furnace is able to reach this section of pipe.
Call a plumber. Can’t find the frozen area of piping? Not sure why your thawing method doesn’t work? You may need to call in an experienced plumber.
The Wrong Way to Thaw the Pipes
One thing you should never do? Use an open flame. That means no blowtorches, kerosene heaters, or propane heaters. The danger isn’t worth it, and you may be better off with a heating method that works slowly anyway, so the pressure change in the pipes is not so sudden.
Preventing Freezing in the Future
Frozen pipes should not be a persistent problem if you take the right steps. Make sure the heat is always able to reach areas prone to freezing. If you go on vacation, consider shutting off and draining water pipes. And invest in insulating materials or consider relocating pipes if an area is particularly stubborn.
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