Repair a Frozen
By: Mark J. Donovan
In just a matter of a months winter
will be upon us. Besides bundling up from the cold and shoveling snow,
homeowners sometimes have to deal with the additional task of fixing frozen
Prevention is the Best Medicine
The best way to deal with frozen
pipes is to prevent them in the first place. If you have the luxury of
participating and/or overseeing the building of your home, make sure the plumber
does not run any plumbing supply lines in the outside walls of the home.
Even if he
indicates he will wrap them in insulation, do not accept this compromise. I have
seen even insulated pipes in outside walls freeze.
If, however, you have an existing
home and there are plumbing supply lines running on the outside walls that you
have access to, then insulate these pipes with pipe insulation. It is better
How to Repair a Frozen Pipe
If in the event you do find yourself
with a frozen pipe, then I recommend the following:
Close the supply line
valve and open the faucet at the end of the pipe.
Examine the entire length
of pipe looking for cracks, breaks or holes, particularly focusing on the
suspect cold areas, e.g. crawl spaces and outside walls.
Thaw Out the Damaged Pipe
Once the crack, break or
hole has been identified, use a hair dryer to heat up the surrounding pipe area
to get the water flowing again through the pipe. Check the faucet regularly to
see when the water begins to flow again. Once the water begins to flow it is
time to move on to the repairing phase.
Note: The amount of water flowing
out of the faucet will be limited as the supply line valve was shut off.
Repairing the Damage Supply Line
Once the damaged pipe area
has been thawed out, using a hack saw or pipe cutter, remove a section of pipe
that includes the broken section.
Replace this section of
pipe. Use a propane torch, solder and flux to sweat the new joints.
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If you are not comfortable
cutting and replacing the damaged pipe, pending the size of the crack or break
you could simply wrap duct tape or electrical tape around the affected area for
a temporary fix. However, a plumber should be brought in as soon as possible to
fix the leak permanently.
Once the pipe has been
repaired, turn the supply line valve back on, run the faucet and check the
repaired site for any leaks.
some pipe insulation and/or electrical pipe-heating wire around the repaired
area to prevent the problem from occurring again.
Pipe Heater Tape and Cables for Preventing Frozen Pipes from Amazon.com