As a parent, I can't tell you how many times I have walked in on a disaster. Just a few days ago, my kids were playing together and they decided to flood our master bathroom with a few towels and a boatload of water. Although some messes are cute or funny, others are completely overwhelming and difficult to clean up. Fortunately, I have an excellent damage contractor on speed dial, and he comes out to help me whenever I need a little assistance. I want you to know how to tackle tough messes, which is why I put up this website.
The winter months carry a number of environmental dangers with them, even to the interior of your home. Winter weather carries freezing temperatures, which can cause the water within your plumbing to freeze solid. If this occurs, it can cause damage to your pipes and stop the flow of water, which can be a major disruption to your entire property. Being aware of some of the things that you can do to treat frozen pipes can help you avoid such damages.
Drain the Water
The first and simplest thing to do if you believe that your pipes have frozen is to drain the water from the plumbing itself. This helps remove whatever water has not frozen, reducing the pressure on your pipes and decreasing the risk that additional sections of your plumbing may freeze. Further, running water is much less likely to freeze at all; if you want to prevent freezing pipes, it may be a good idea to leave at-risk faucets on a slow drip during periods of particularly intense cold weather until you have the chance to install more permanent solutions, like additional insulation.
Warm the Pipes Up
In some cases, a frozen mass of water may completely clog your pipes. In order to restore the function of your plumbing, you can attempt to warm the pipes up to melt the ice. Simple techniques like using a space heater or hair dryer can be effective, as can opening up cabinet doors and otherwise increasing the air circulation in your home so that your furnace's heat is better distributed. You may also want to consider installing heating tape, which is a flexible material that can be placed over exposed pipes and provides a constant, low amount of heat that helps prevent your pipes from freezing in the winter. Heating tape can be found at most hardware stores.
Damage Mitigation and Professional Attention
While the above solutions are ideal for pipes that have frozen and have not become damaged, the simple reality is that water expands when it turns to ice. This means that your pipes can be weakened and even burst if they freeze. When this happens, you may experience severe water damage. The best course of action in this case is to turn off the water supply to your home—usually located in the basement next to your water heater, and can be turned off by hand by turning the valve counter-clockwise—and contacting an emergency plumber to come in and deal with your leaks and water damage.