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How to Handle Frozen Pipes

A lot of responsibility comes with owning a home. And now that you’ve joined the ranks as a homeowner, you need to be prepared for a disaster or two (maybe even three). Below are a couple of simple tricks to help you deal with a frozen pipe.

1. Diagnosing.

If you have a faucet that is running more slowly than usual, or not at all, you likely are dealing with a frozen pipe.

  • Turn on the faucet and look for signs of cracks, frost or bulges on the pipe supplying that faucet.
  • If you do not observe any of these, wet a cloth and rub the pipe with it. If there’s a piece of the pipe that is frozen, it will frost over.

2. Thawing.

You will of course want to thaw the frozen area of your pipe.

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is shut off water flow. If the pipe has already cracked or burst, thawing that pipe will allow water to flow freely and could result in a leak or even bursting the pipe.
  • There are generally individual shut off valves located near sinks and toilets, but you may want to take a more drastic step and shut off the water supply to the entire house. This valve is typically around where water enters your home. It may be outside or in your basement. Once you locate it, you’ll want to turn the knob or lever clockwise to cut off the water supply.
  • Once the water has been cut off, you can use heating pads, heating lamps, or hair dryers to melt the ice inside your pipe. 

You may have a little cleanup to do later, though if you can catch the issue before a pipe actually bursts you’ll be saving yourself a lot of time and money! Hopefully you won't have to worry about frozen pipes this winter, but it's always good to be prepared.

Posted 8:00 AM  View Comments

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