No doubt about it: our country has experienced bitterly cold temperatures this year. Even here in the South we’ve had stretches of colder-than-usual weather, resulting in burst pipes. Frozen pipes are a problem in and of themselves, but improperly thawing pipes can lead to fires and/or serious water damage problems. Learn how to safely thaw frozen pipes and what not to do so you avoid a potentially lethal disaster.
No-No #1: Never use any type of open flame to thaw or heat up frozen pipes. Believe it or not, several house fires have been reported around the country caused by people using blowtorches to thaw pipes. Never, ever use an open flame.
No-No #2: Never leave a space heater unattended. You can use a space heater to thaw frozen pipes, but only if you supervise to ensure surrounding areas do not ignite. Space heaters cause one-third of all winter house fires and approximately 80% of winter heating fire deaths. While it makes sense to use a space heater to thaw frozen pipes hidden inside walls, make sure the space heater is always monitored.
No-No #3: Never leave a hair dryer on and unattended. While a hair dryer is our preferred solution for thawing frozen pipes, you still need to stay with it. Hold the hair dryer and move it up and down (don’t leave it on one place). Use a cookie sheet to reflect the warm air to all sides of the pipe.
No-No #4: Never leave a heat lamp unattended if you haven’t taken precautions. Heat lamps aren’t very effective for thawing frozen pipes, but they are perfect for preventing pipes from freezing. There’s a big difference between a heat lamp (like the kind used in barns to keep livestock warm) and a space heater. Heat lamps are much, much safer than space heaters because they emit a much lower amount of heat. However, the area must be kept free of cobwebs and water to prevent fires. If you want to use a heat lamp to prevent pipes from freezing, follow these heat lamp safety tips.
Remember: A slow thaw is always the best solution. If you have frozen pipes, take the following steps:
- Open taps connected to the frozen pipe section so you will be able to evaluate progress.
- Use a hair dryer to thaw the pipes.
- Never leave the heat source unattended.
- Call a plumber if you can’t monitor the thawing efforts or if you suspect a crack or break in pipes due to the freezing and thawing.
For step-by-step instructions on insulating pipes, preventing wells from freezing, thawing pipes and detailed frozen pipe issues, check out our ultimate guide to preventing and thawing frozen pipes.
Frozen Pipes in Charlotte?
Give us a call at 704-846-5371 for Charlotte frozen pipe repair services. We look forward to keeping you and your family safe.
Quick question & answer: Is there anything I shouldn’t do when thawing frozen pipes?
Yes! When thawing frozen pipes, do not ever use any type of open flame to heat them. Do not leave a space heater unattended or a hair dryer on and unattended. Do not ever leave a heat lamp unattended if you have not taken precautions.