With over 20 states having an average winter temperature of fewer than 32 F° (or 0 c°), it’s no wonder homeowners always have trouble with frozen pipes. Frozen pipes could result in burst pipes, and the cost of repairing a burst pipe ranges from as little as 200 USD to 2000 USD.
After reading this article, you will know how to thaw underground water pipes to bring back your water line running hopefully.
Why do Frozen Pipes Burst?
Thawing your underground pipes should be your priority. When water freezes, it expands, and the water inside your pipes is under pressure. Under these conditions, even the strongest of pipes could be damaged.
The reason is that solid water, ice, expand, and it then pushes water towards the faucet. You have two chokepoints that increase pressure. Thus, a build-up in pressure is what causes your pipes to burst.
Also, don’t forget that the reason why a basement is flooded is likely because of a burst pipe.
What Temperature do Pipes Freeze?
Water freezes at 32 F°, but underground pipes have some insulation. A drop below 20 F° could make underground water in your pipes freeze. Pipes located in the attic, basements, and crawlspace are also susceptible to freezing at this point.
How Do You Find Frozen Pipes?
The first step is to turn off all taps. Then check them one by one to see whether or not there is a pressure drop. After finding a faucet or toilet that doesn’t work, use this as a starting point to locate the frozen pipe.
If numerous taps are not working, it could mean that a nearby pipe is frozen or there are many affected pipes.
Pipes frozen underground are a bit harder to find because you can’t directly see condensation or frost. You can’t also tap the pipe to listen for a solid sound or touch the pipes to locate cold spots. If methods of deduction or intuition aren’t enough, it might be a good idea to call a plumber.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes?
There are a few methods widely available to thaw underground water pipes. Let’s get right to it and make your water line come back to life.
Method 1: Using A Water Pump
The goal here is to make water from your water pump melt the ice. It would help if you had a power supply for the pump and appropriate plastic and PEX tubing. Remember to turn on the main water supply after the pipe is free of ice.
Method 2:RapidThaw or Powerblanket
These works as insulators and are suitable for two things. They prevent freezing, and they can thaw your pipes that are frozen underground. Both brands have websites you can order from.
Method 3: When to Call the Professionals
Sometimes it would require the services of the pros because of the complexity, and danger, of the job. You don’t want to cause further damage to your house, and you don’t even want to mess around with your municipal water lines. Likely local professionals are waiting to offer their service.
Method 4: Exposed Pipe
Assumption: It is not an inconvenience to dig, or the pipe in question is not that deep. Dig near the end of the frozen pipe. Under the exposed pipe, dig a basin so you could place a bucket.
Then use a sump pump with its aim away from the pipeline. Cut the pipe, then connect an RV hose, PEX, or flexible tubing long enough to reach the nearest source of warm water to the end of the line. Slowly push the tube into the underground pipe as the blockage is removed and remove the hose and repair the line once it is completely thawed.
Method 5: How To Thaw A Drain Pipe
These aren’t necessarily for use thawing frozen pipes underground. Cold weather will freeze indiscriminately, so your walls, sink, and drain are candidates to have frozen water in them. Thawing can be achieved by using a heat source like a hair dryer or heat lamp.
What should I do if my water pipes burst?
Broken plumbing will require cleaning and replacement. Preventive measures should be taken in that section to lessen the risk of future damage. Differences in the plumbing in question should be taken into account, and some are trickier than others.
Random Safety Tips
Be careful with dealing with electricity as snow will melt. Heating underground pipes by fire are dangerous. Turn off the main water valve before thawing, and don’t hesitate to contact a professional service.
Also, don’t use low voltage with a high amp to frozen lines. And as always, exercise caution, and whenever you seem in doubt, search for an expert.
Will Frozen Pipes Thaw On Their Own?
Time will thaw, but the longer your water lines are frozen, the riskier it gets. If you live in an area that’s perpetually cold, though, don’t expect it to thaw anytime soon.
How To Prevent Frozen Pipes
Snow is all around you, and the weather has gotten too cold. You want hot water, but as it turns out, your pipes need to be thawed. This section will tell you how to reduce the occurrence of frozen pipes because we don’t want that to happen to anybody.
Proper is insulation is crucial, so check your pipes and insulate any that’s prone to freezing. Try always to keep the thermostat at 55 F°. Maximize warm air circulation in every part of the house.
Open the faucet when it gets too cold or when night-time comes just a little bit. Stop connecting garden hoses to outdoor spigots and take care of your sprinkler system before winter comes.
In this article, you’ve just learned how to thaw frozen underground pipes as well as how to minimize the risk of having your plumbing freeze. Thawing drainpipes were also discussed, and as well as safety tips. With the knowledge and understanding gained, you are now more capable of making informed decisions.