Three Things Not To Do When Your Pipes Are Frozen
So it was 10 degrees below zero when you woke up this morning and turned on the faucet to in order to start the coffee, but the water didn't come out. Yup, your pipes are frozen.
Now you could call a plumber to take care of the problem, but hey, you're from Maine, and this is a state that's filled with people that take care of problems on their own.
So here we go, besides putting your foot through the wall, here's what else not to do!
Keeping the faucets turned off raises the likelihood that ice will continue to build up within an area of the pipes, and when one of them bursts wide open, you'll be concerned about more than coffee.
Turn on every faucet in the house to isolate the issue. If water comes out of all of them but one, then you know about where the ice buildup is and you can start working on the problem in that area.
Do yourself a favor, and leave that particular faucet on just a little, so that the water may drip and eventually work the ice out on it's own. Maybe around noontime you can make coffee.
Using an open flame to thaw a pipe could work out badly for you a couple of different ways. One, the heat is extreme and could make the water inside of the pipe boil, which could result in the pipe exploding. But probably the biggest concern is that you could burn your house down, and then you'd have to go out for coffee.
Experts, those who do not play Aerosmith for a living, suggest thawing the pipe out these ways.
- Use a hair dryer that is set on high. Swing the hair dryer back and forth across the affected area of the pipe.
- Use a portable space heater or heat lamp. Get everything that will catch on fire out of the way. Point the heater towards the pipe and let it do it's work. Something else that you can do in this instance is put a metal sheet behind the pipe so that the heat is reflected back, warming the other side of the pipe.
- Wrap heat tape around the pipe and plug it in. The ice jam will eventually let go. Using heat tape in extreme cold temperatures may be your best bet in preventing frozen pipes in the future. Just plug it in when freezing temperatures are expected.
In all three instances, remember to leave the faucet on so that when the ice finally lets loose it has somewhere to go.
Sure you tried, and you should feel pretty good about that, even if the water isn't flowing. But the steps above are about as far as you should go, so at this point you should call in a professional! Chances are by the time a plumber shows up they've already had their coffee.