Thawing Out Your Frozen Pipes

Living in Northeast Ohio during the winter presents a real possibility for frozen pipes. Here’s a look at why plumbing pipes freeze, when you need to worry about it, how to prevent the problem, and how to thaw out your pipes before they burst.

Why pipes freeze: Most homes in Cleveland are built with pipes inside the building to protect them from subfreezing temperatures. However, holes in the building’s outer layer combined with incredibly cold temperatures can lead to frozen pipes. Pipes running through the attic, crawlspace or along exterior walls are particularly vulnerable to freezing.

When frozen pipes occur: While exposed pipes can freeze above this temperature, the danger zone for your pipes freezing begins at 20 degrees F. When the temperature dips below this point and stays there for a sustained period, there is a greater possibility that even pipes running inside the building may freeze.

How to prevent frozen pipes: Since Cleveland is regularly subject to subfreezing temperatures in the winter, most homes already should be built without pipes running through unheated spaces, such as the attic. Keeping pipes in heated areas of your home is the best way to prevent pipes from freezing, though, of course, that’s a difficult situation to rectify if your pipes already run through colder spaces. Insulating vulnerable pipes is another way to help protect them from freezing. Electric heating tape can be run along the pipe to keep it heated. You can also let lukewarm water drip through the night to prevent pipes from bursting, even if they do freeze.

How to thaw out your pipes: If you turn on the faucet and no water comes out, you probably have frozen pipes. Call a plumber to service the pipes and keep the faucet open until repairs are made. Until they arrive, you may be able to thaw the frozen pipes a little yourself. Never use an open flame since this could damage the pipe and even burn you or start a fire. Instead, use a hair dryer, beginning on low heat near the faucet and working toward the coldest section.

For more information about preventing or dealing with frozen pipes, please contact Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We serve Lorain, Cuyahoga and Medina counties.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about frozen pipes and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing services Western Cleveland. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!