This is the time of year when temperatures tend to drop and increase the chances of a frozen pipe. You can limit the chances of becoming a victim to this annoying hazard by lagging any pipes that are particularly at risk. Another good method to use is to keep your heating on throughout the coldest periods. You may want to be economical with your heating but you only need it on very low continually to vastly reduce the chances of a burst pipe.
How can you tell if you have a frozen pipe?
If you turn a tap on and nothing happens it could be your pipes are frozen. However the exact same thing would happen if your water supply was cut off for some reason. Always check next door first to see whether they are affected too. If no one else has lost their water then you need to investigate further.
Turn off your supply
If you do suspect a frozen pipe you should turn your supply off before looking at it more closely. This will prevent any chance of flooding if the pipe should burst.
Logically heating the pipe to thaw out the ice is the way to go here. You’re right in thinking this, but you must proceed carefully to ensure you get the right results. If you heated it very quickly the pipe could crack and burst – and that is why it is wise to turn the water supply off before you start!
Ideally you need a hairdryer to heat the pipe through as gently as possible. Pop a towel underneath the pipe and have a bucket or two ready just in case the pipe does decide to crack. This way you won’t be running around in a panic looking for these items while any water in the pipe runs all over your floor.
Wipe the pipe every now and then and see whether there are any leaks visible as it starts to thaw. Hopefully taking the slow but sure route will ensure your pipe recovers from its frosty experience. If not you can call a plumber to replace it for you. Either way the best course of action is to make sure you take things slowly and you know what you need to do before you begin. This should help you move towards the best possible outcome and a pipe that gets back to normal.