Frozen Pipe? Don’t Panic

They say the best cure is prevention, but we can’t always adhere to this. Frozen pipes can often be avoided by lagging them properly before they have a chance to get cold in bad weather. They also benefit from being kept warm by keeping the heating on all the time – even if you have it on the lowest setting. It won’t completely guarantee against a frozen pipe, but it certainly helps lower the risk of getting one.

What should you do first?
The best course of action may not be the one you would think of. We’d advise you pop next door to see if your neighbours are having trouble with their water. It may be you don’t have a frozen pipe at all. If everyone has no water coming through you know it’s a bigger problem. You can check with your local water company online to see whether there is an issue in your area.

And if it is a frozen pipe?
The first thought would be – logically enough – to heat up the pipe so it thaws out. However there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. And before you do anything else, you need to turn off your water supply. This should be done at the point where the water supply comes into your home.

Once this is done, see whether you can locate the frozen pipe. It will feel very cold – much like putting your hand in the freezer. If you do find the frozen pipe, don’t try and heat it up too quickly. A hairdryer is the perfect thing to use to start warming it through.

Will there be leaks?
It’s hard to tell. Sometimes you may get lucky, other times not so much. In order to minimise any potential damage, turn your stop tap off and then turn your taps off. By doing this you’re not letting any more water into the system but you’re draining out what is already in there. If the frozen pipe has caused a leak there will be less water to leak out. Watch the frozen pipe for a leak and see what happens. If it all looks fine you can turn the taps off and turn the stop tap back on. Check the condition of the frozen pipe again to make sure the pressure of the water doesn’t reveal a leak.

If in any doubt at all, we’re here to help. Just give us a call.