It’s cold outside. If you live in a cold climate, you know what that means: your pipes are probably frozen.
If you’ve ever had to thaw your frozen pipes before, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only do you have to wait for hours for the water to start flowing again, but then there’s the added stress of worrying about whether or not the pipes are going to burst once they’re thawed out.
We’re here to help! We’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide on how to thaw water-frozen bathroom plumbing so that this winter doesn’t feel like such a nightmare.
Why do pipes freeze?
It’s simple: pipes freeze because they’re too cold.
And in this case, “too cold” is relative. You see, water freezes at 32°F, but the temperature of the surrounding environment can affect how quickly the water in your pipes freezes. If your house is heated to 70°F inside, it takes much longer for the liquid inside your pipes to get cold enough to freeze.
But if you’re living in a basement with no heat, your pipes will freeze much faster than they would if you were living in a warm apartment with lots of insulation.
How to Identify Frozen Pipes?
If you’ve ever had a pipe freeze, you know how tough it can be to identify the problem.
Fortunately, there are a few simple signs that will tell you whether or not your pipes are frozen and need to be thawed. Here’s what to look for:
The water is trickling out of the faucet at a snail-like pace. If you have to turn on the water and wait several minutes to get a trickle, that’s an indicator of frozen pipes.
You hear gurgling sounds coming from the pipes. This is called a “water hammer” and can occur when water freezes inside the pipe, causing it to expand and contract rapidly as it thaws out again. This causes loud noises that may sound like a toilet flushing or running water when there isn’t any!
Your toilet stops flushing entirely or only sputters once or twice before stopping completely (or vice versa). If this happens when there hasn’t been any change in temperature outside or inside your home, then there could be ice build-up in the line or valves leading to those toilets, which would cause this problem!
Low water pressure
Your water pressure is lower than normal. When water freezes in your pipes, it expands and creates pressure against them. That means that your water will come out at a lower pressure when it thaws out again—so if you notice that your shower pressure feels different than normal this winter, check on those pipes!
Visible frost or ice on pipes
Your pipes get cloudy and start to look like the kind of ice you’d find on top of a pond. This happens because pipes contract as they get colder, causing them to crack open slightly and let water seep into the cracks—which then freezes hard enough to block off those cracks entirely! If this happens to you, call a professional plumber for Whole-House Repiping Services in Paso Robles immediately so they can take care of it before your entire house freezes!
If you smell something abnormal coming from your sink or toilet, it could be a sign that there’s water trapped inside the pipe and it’s starting to evaporate.
If your upstairs neighbor suddenly starts complaining about how much water they’re using, the cold might have caused their pipe to burst.
Slow water flow
If you notice that your faucets are taking longer than usual to fill up, then this could also be an indication that there’s an issue with your pipes and/or plumbing system. You should call a plumber in Paso Robles for repiping solutions immediately so they can come to check things out!
What do you need to thaw pipes?
Do you know what’s really annoying? When your pipes freeze, and you can’t do anything about how to thaw out plumbing.
Luckily, if you’re reading this, we have the solution to your problem! Here are some things you need to thaw pipes:
- Heat tape
- Drywall knife
- Reciprocating saw
- Space heater
- Pipe insulation
- Hair dryer
How to thaw pipes?
It’s a common misconception that pipes can’t be thawed. The truth is, it’s actually quite easy to thaw pipes.
Follow these simple steps to learn how to thaw frozen plumbing pipes:
- Turn off the water supply: Before you start thawing your pipes, you need to turn off the water supply to prevent any further damage.
- Open the faucet: Open the faucet that is fed by the frozen pipe. This will allow the water to flow when the ice melts.
- Locate the frozen section: You need to locate the frozen section of the pipe. This can be done by feeling the pipes for a bulge or using a pipe locator.
- Apply heat: Once you have located the frozen section, use a hairdryer or a heat lamp to apply heat to the pipe. Start from the faucet end and work your way toward the frozen section. Make sure to keep the heat source moving to avoid damaging the pipe. You can also use warm towels or rags to wrap around the pipe to help transfer heat.
- Thaw slowly: Thawing the pipe too quickly can cause the pipe to burst, so it’s important to take your time and thaw the pipe slowly.
- Check the water flow: Once you have thawed the pipe, turn on the water supply and check the water flow. If the water is flowing freely, you have successfully thawed the pipe.
- Clean up: Finally, clean up any water that may have leaked during thawing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes?
The coldest days of the year are approaching, and it’s time to start preparing for the inevitable: frozen pipes.
You might think that your pipes are safe from freezing if you live in a place where it never gets below freezing during the winter months, but that’s not always true. Even if your pipes don’t freeze when it’s 60 degrees outside, they can still freeze when temperatures dip as low as 30 degrees.
So what can you do to prevent them from freezing? Here are some tips:
Insulate your water heater.
If you have an older model with no insulation, this is an easy way to keep it warm adequately so that it doesn’t freeze. You can also wrap it in towels or blankets if you’re worried about it getting too hot while trying to heat up the house.
Run hot water while you’re showering or doing dishes.
If you leave the water running while you’re showering or doing dishes, it will keep the temperature of your pipes higher than normal. That way, if there’s a sudden drop in temperature outside that causes your pipes to freeze, they’ll be less likely to burst because they won’t be as cold as they would have been otherwise.
Open cabinet doors.
As the temperature drops outside, you might notice that your pipes are freezing more frequently. This is because the cold air coming in through open cabinet doors causes moisture to form on the pipes and freezing to occur. To prevent this, make sure to close all cabinet doors during the winter months and keep them closed until spring arrives.
Drip faucets can be a major source of leaks in your home, which means they can cause frozen pipes as well! If you have any leaky faucets in your home, make sure you have them repaired before winter hits so that you don’t have to worry about frozen pipes this year.
Keep the heating system running.
If you have an electric heating system that doesn’t keep itself running, make sure to turn it on before going out for more than a few hours—it will prevent your pipes from freezing while you’re gone!
Disconnect outdoor hoses
If you have an outdoor hose, disconnect it from the faucet and store it somewhere indoors where you can watch it.
Keep your home warm.
If you don’t have a furnace and rely on space heaters, make sure they’re working properly and that there’s nothing blocking their airflow. If you live in an apartment building or community, check with your landlord to see if there are any heating issues that may be affecting your unit specifically (like a broken boiler).
Get a Permanent Solution to Frozen Pipes By Hiring Expert Plumbers in Paso Robles, CA!
Frozen pipes can be a nightmare. You go to take a shower, and suddenly you’re standing in an icy cold mess. Or you wake up and realize that your pipes are frozen and have no idea how to fix them.
But don’t worry! Rocksteady Plumbing is here to help.
We specialize in plumbing services and repiping solutions for homes in Paso Robles, CA, and we’re here to help you get back to your routine after your pipe has burst.
We’ve been in the Paso Robles area since 2008, building a reputation for integrity, quality workmanship, and attention to detail. We pride ourselves on being able to provide solutions for whatever plumbing problems you might have—whether they’re big or small (or sometimes even medium-sized).
We also know how difficult it can be to deal with frozen pipes on your own—especially if this problem occurs in the middle of the night when most plumbers are off-duty. That’s why we offer 24/7 emergency plumbing services that will help get your pipes up and running again as quickly as possible.
No matter what time of day or night it is when your pipes freeze, our experts will be there for you. Our team has years of experience with all types of plumbing issues, so we’ll be able to assess the situation quickly and efficiently and determine what needs to be done next. If necessary, we can provide an estimate right away so that there are no surprises later on down the line!
To learn more about our Plumbing Services and Solutions in Paso Robles or schedule an appointment with one of our professionals today, call 805-237-7625!