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Ken's Plumbing | Blog

The Ultimate Guide to Frozen Pipe Repair

Posted by Ken Flournoy on Jan 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM

What to do if a pipe bursts

Frozen pipes can be a homeowner's nightmare, especially during the winter months. If left unattended, they can lead to burst pipes, water damage, and costly repairs. But what if you didn't quite prepare your pipes for winter before a big freeze, or you didn't get around to checking your washing machine supply hose before your pipes and hoses just couldn't handle the workload? In a moment like that, it's important to know what to do so you can act fast and minimize damage.

Stay Calm and Act Fast

  • Turn off the main water supply. In particularly cold climates the main water supply valve will most likely be indoors (check your basement, crawl space, near your water heater, or even under your kitchen sink), but since we're in a warmer climate with mild winters, the valve may be outside on an exterior wall or possibly in a box underground. The valve is circular (like a ring) with several pieces in the middle connecting to a bolt; turn this knob to clockwise (or to the right) until you can no longer turn it to completely stop water from coming to your house.
  • Drain the water left in your pipes. If you catch the burst before it results in a flood, drain your pipes of any remaining water once you shut off your main supply by turning on all cold water taps and flushing toilets. To drain the hot water, turn off the central heating and your water heater, then turn on all hot water taps.
  • Beware of electrical shocks. If the broken pipe is near any electrical switches or your fuse box, turn off your home's electricity and try to cover and protect the switches and fuses to further guarantee your safety.
    • Did the water get to your fuse box before you could? We can help there too because Ken's Plumbing is also Hot Wire Electric!
  • Be proactive and protective. Grab buckets, pots, pans, and any other containers that can collect water that would otherwise cause further damage to furniture, carpets, walls, or other valuables. If you notice a wet spot or bluge on your ceiling, stand as far back as you can and use a long-handled implement break through the surface and release the water.
  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Your agent will help you start your claims process so you can start your repair process, and return to normal sooner rather than later.
  • Document the damage. Take pictures, save valuables that have been clearly water-damaged, and take notes on anything you can that has been negatively affected by the pipe burst. All of this will serve as evidence in your insurance claim.
  • Call Ken's Plumbing! It's likely you won't be able to repair the pipe on your own, so that's where we come in

In addition to understanding how to handle pipe bursts, it's essential to know how to prevent them in the first place. For more information on frozen pipe repair and maintenance, read on.

Can frozen pipes be fixed?

The answer is a resounding yes. Frozen pipes can indeed be fixed. One common misconception is that once a pipe freezes, it's irreparably damaged. While it's true that a burst pipe can be a major issue, a frozen pipe itself can often be salvaged before reaching that point.

How are frozen pipes repaired?

Repairing frozen pipes involves a systematic process. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Locate the Freeze: The first step is to identify the location of the freeze. You can often tell if a pipe is frozen because it may be bulging or have frost on its surface.
  2. Thaw the Pipe: To thaw the pipe, you have a few options. Common methods include using a hairdryer, heat tape, or heating pads. Ensure that you start at the end nearest to the faucet and work your way toward it. This helps release trapped water as it thaws.
  3. Check for Damage: After thawing, inspect the pipe for damage or leaks. If you find any, it's important to address them promptly.

How do you fix a frozen pipe fast?

When it comes to repairing frozen pipes quickly, here are some tips:

  • Use the Right Thawing Method: Choose the most effective thawing method based on the pipe's location and accessibility. Hairdryers work well for exposed pipes, while heat tape is ideal for hard-to-reach areas.
  • Call a Professional: If you're unsure or if the situation is more complex, don't hesitate to call a professional plumber. They have the experience and equipment to resolve the issue swiftly.
  • Prevent Future Freezes: To avoid future freezes, consider insulating exposed pipes and ensuring your home is properly heated during cold spells. Taking preventive measures can save you from the hassle of dealing with frozen pipes in the first place.

How long does it take to repair frozen pipes?

The time it takes to repair frozen pipes can vary widely, depending on several factors. These include the severity of the freeze, the location of the frozen pipe, and the method used for thawing.

  • In some cases, a DIY repair may take a few hours, while more complicated situations may take longer.
  • Professional plumbers can often resolve the issue faster, especially for complex or hard-to-reach frozen pipes.
  • Remember that immediate action is crucial. The longer you wait, the more damage a frozen pipe can cause, potentially increasing the time and cost of repairs.

We know that emergencies don't have calendars or wear watches, so they rarely happen Monday-Friday during normal business hours when most plumbers are available, which is why we make it a point to be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364 days a year (every day except Christmas). Whether it's 2:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m., you can give us a call at (864) 242-5511 or contact us online and we'll be on our way to help you out!

avoid a preventable flood in your home.

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Topics: Plumbing, Emergency