How to Fix Frozen Pipes and When to Call the Pros

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What Causes Pipes to Freeze?

One of the worst things on the planet is waking up on a cold, winter morning and having no water. Frozen pipes happen all too frequently, and always at the worst possible time. And the plumber is going to charge you a small fortune to fix frozen pipes.

That means no shower, no coffee, and likely no breakfast. Calling the plumber is the last thing anyone wants to do. The good news is that many times, you can fix frozen pipes yourself. But knowing when to call in a pro and how to prevent frozen pipes is also good.

Just a brief list of preventative measures:

We’ll discuss each of those with a more in-depth look later.

  • The extent of the damage you experience can range from mild to extreme. Locate the area of the frozen pipe first. Most often, this will be in a basement or the crawl space under your home. For homes on a slab foundation, most of the piping is likely routed through the attic.
  • Insulate susceptible piping
  • Heat the space around piping by opening cabinets or use a space heater. Please do not leave a space heater unattended.
  • Turn on a lavatory faucet or tub faucet and turn it down to a trickle. This keeps the water moving inside the pipes and makes them less likely to freeze.

Freezing water expands. When trapped inside a solid object, such as a pipe, this expansion can cause piping to burst. As seen in the image below, ice has expanded just above a joint, leaving behind a gaping wound.

There are many instances in which a homeowner can complete plumbing repairs. In the case of frozen piping, we do recommend contacting a professional at any point that you feel overwhelmed.

What Happens When You Don’t Fix Frozen Pipes?

Many homeowner’s insurance policies have provisions for frozen pipe repair. Check your policy and be aware of those before beginning your repair. In some cases, a failed home fix-it may void insurance coverage, so please read your policy carefully.

The bigger issue with frozen water lines is that once you find a leak it is highly likely there will be more. Ince in water lines weakens the piping. IF they aren’t fixed you may chase leaks for a while. Not to mention you run the risk of flooding again.

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