You awaken to a frozen water pipe. What should you do?

frozen water pipe. According to the Marblehead Water and Sewer Commission October-December 2016 Newsletter…

You wake up one frigid January morning and open your kitchen faucet to fill the coffee pot with water and only a trickle comes out. You are now in panic mode without your morning caffeine fix. You suspect a frozen pipe.

But how do you know for sure that you do have a frozen pipe? Getting only a trickle of water after a bitterly cold night is a good indication.

Other signs of a frozen pipe include a water line that is covered in frost, toilets that won’t refill after a flush or a pipe that is bulging like a well fed snake.

Either you didn’t read this issue of The Flow N’ Go, your best efforts at protecting your pipes from freezing have failed or, like this writer, became lazy and didn’t heed his own advice.

What should you do?

If you are able, you could locate where the pipe is fro zen and attempt to thaw it yourself. Otherwise, you will need to call a plumber.

If you decide that you are a DIYer, try the following:

First, because the real trouble can occur after the thaw, you should shut off the water supply and examine all of the pipes for any splits, especially the area between the freeze and the faucet. If the pipe is split, keep the water off and call a plumber.

Once you have located where the freeze is and confirmed there are no splits, you can turn the water back on.

Fully open the affected faucet and other hot water faucets in the house.

Now comes the task of thawing the frozen section of the pipe. Y ou should alwa ys keep safety in mind when thawing pipes.

The best method to un- freeze the freeze is to apply heat to that section of the pipe using a hair dryer, heat lamp or heating pad or towels soaked in hot water wrapped around the pipe. Never pour hot water directly on the frozen line. Start thawing from the side of the open faucet and work towards the frozen area. (This will keep steam from being trapped by the ice and causing the pipe to burst.)

You should also never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe by using a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater or any open flame.

When the water starts to flow, turn the faucets down to a trickle. Running water through the pipe will help melt the ice.

If you encounter any problems or are not fully confident in your ability to thaw the pipes yourself, always play it safe and call a professional!

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