How to Fix Frozen Pipes

fix frozen pipes

Frozen Pipes – A Homeowner’s Worst Nightmare

It’s cold out. Really cold. Your faucets are running and you take a warm shower before you go to bed. You wake up in the morning and your shower is lacking water pressure, you ignore it, and go on with your morning routine. When you get back home that evening, your faucet isn’t providing any water flow at all. You’ve got frozen pipes somewhere in your plumbing, and if you’re not careful, you could be in for a major insurance claim.

First, Why Did Your Pipes Freeze and Then Crack?

Pipes freeze because of unusually cold temperatures in exposed or drafty areas. Many homeowners don’t know that during high wind events, there can be up to a 50 degree differential between the core of the home and areas immediately near the exterior. This means pipes can freeze fast, virtually overnight. 
When the water in your pipes freezes, it expands. Ever left an aluminum can in the freezer too long? Same concept. This expansion can wreak havoc on pipes, causing cracks in running pipe and bursts at joints. If you’re not able to catch a frozen pipe before it thaws, you’re going to have a huge mess of water on your hands and a huge plumbing and restoration project.

So What Do You Do?

1. Locate your main water shut off valve and immediately turn off your water supply. Now, follow that pipe until you find frost on your pipes.
2. Call a plumber. If you’re in the Kalamazoo, MI area, and you have frozen pipes, you should probably call us. 😉
3. Grab your humidifier, a mop, a bucket, and a heating element (space heater, hair dryer, heat lamp) and begin thawing the pipe. 
As you start to thaw the pipe, any cracks that resulted from the expansion of the water in the pipes as it froze will start to leak. This is why we have our bucket. If you can catch any water before it hits the floor, you’ll save yourself a ton of headache from mold and mildew.
By this point, a master plumber from Petro Plumbing has arrived with all the tools necessary to replace the stretch of frozen pipe, insulate it from freezing again and get your water supply back up and running.