My Pipes are Frozen, What Do I Do?
Frozen Pipes In Minnesota is a Common Occurrence
With this temperature drop that we are having right now, it is important to know what to do if your pipes are frozen. You will know that you have frozen pipes when you turn on a faucet and you don’t get a full stream of water. Both water pipes and waste pipes can freeze up. The simplest explanation for why your pipes freeze is because cold air has somehow gotten to the pipe.
The first and quickest thing to do if you still have any water flow is to open the faucet and let it continue dripping. The water will not freeze as easily if it is kept moving. If your sink is affected, leave the cabinet underneath open so that the ambient warm air helps to heat the pipes, and/or put a space heater in front of the open cabinet doors under the sink.
The next thing to do is think about where the cold air might be entering the building and try to find where the frozen pipe is located. You want to get as much heat into the frozen area, whether adding heat to the room or directly onto the pipe. You can use a hair dryer if you can identify the frozen area of the pipe. The other way to get heat into the area if you can’t locate the specific pipe is to put an electric space heater into the room to get the ambient air temperature up to slow the freezing. Even if it doesn’t thaw it out right away it will slow down the freezing process.
The issue with water is that as it freezes and becomes solid ice, it expands. If the water in the pipe continues to freeze, the pipe will eventually break and then you have a much bigger problem. A lot of times this happens when the water supply pipes are plumbed into the outer walls of the home. If a pipe does break, the first step is to go to your water main valve and shut off all of the water to the house. If your main valve has a wheel-type handle, turn the handle to the right to shut it off. If you have a lever-type handle, turn the handle perpendicular to the main pipe.
The most important thing to do is not to panic and if you are in the St. Paul or Minneapolis metro area, give your friends at St Paul Pipeworks a call.
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