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What Should You Do If Your Pipes Freeze?

icicles-from-frozen-pipesIf you’ve lived in our part of the country for most of your life, frozen pipes are something you know to look out for. There’s all kinds of advice out there about how to prevent pipes from freezing. (We’re happy to offer our two cents when you give us a call!) However, it’s likely you’ll come across a problem at some point or another when you own a home.

Whether you’ve lived in Pennsylvania since birth or you’ve only just moved from a warmer climate, you may have heard some misinformation about what to do when the pipes freeze. As qualified plumbers in Ridley Township, PA, we’re here to offer up our advice and make sure you get running water restored without a crack in the pipes!

Detecting the Problem

A telltale sign of a frozen pipe is a faucet that only drips at a slow trickle. To find the source of the slowdown, test all the nearby faucets. If one turns on properly while another doesn’t, the leak is probably between the two.

Try the likely suspects first. Pipes are most likely to freeze where they are exposed—under cabinets, in garages, crawlspaces, attics, or basements, for example. Before moving on, check for leaks and cracks. If any are present, you’ll need to shut off the water and call in a plumber.

Open the Faucet

There are two important reasons to open up the faucets as you thaw out a leak (and afterward). First, all that water needs somewhere to go as it thaws, or else you increase the chances that the pipe may burst. Second, running water actually helps to keep pipes from freezing any further.

Apply Heat

Now, it’s time to thaw the pipes as safely as possible. Never use an open flame to attempt to thaw the pipes, as this is highly dangerous. Keep a mop and bucket around, as there could be a hidden leak you haven’t noticed yet.

Safe ways to apply heat include using a hair dryer or wrapping the pipes in soaked hot towels. You can use a portable heater, but never leave a portable heater unattended.

Get Through the Night

If temperatures will remain freezing through the night, keep the faucet dripping. Open cabinets and doors throughout the home so that heat from your central heating system can reach all of the pipes. If you have access to heat tape, available at most hardware stores, wrap this around the pipes or add pipe sleeves for insulation. To get through the night, you may be able to get away with using newspaper for insulation (just be sure to replace it tomorrow).

Call an Emergency Plumber

When you don’t feel comfortable thawing a pipe, or if you notice any signs of a crack in the material, be sure to call a plumber. Many emergency plumbers are open 24 hours a day, even on weekends and holidays, so you don’t have to ride out a problem that could severely damage parts of your home.

Contact an emergency plumber in Ridley Township, PA. Call Murphy’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning when your pipes freeze or burst!

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