One of the biggest headaches that a homeowner can experience is a frozen pipe. Not only is a pipe freeze very inconvenient in the short term, but there is a danger that it will burst. A burst pipe can lead to water flooding into your home, and this can result in expensive repairs and restorations. There are, however, ways to determine if you have a frozen pipe before it causes extensive damage.
Temperatures Below Freezing
This one may seem obvious, but it’s still an important indicator of frozen pipes. This is more likely to happen in attics or basements because of how much less insulation these places tend to have. This is especially true in warmer climates with milder winters, for people that live in these areas tend to have less insulation in general. If you suspect something’s wrong, check pipes in these places before you check the rest of your house.
An Empty or Trickling Faucet
This is the easiest way to find out whether something is wrong. If you turn on your tap and no water comes out, that’s a sign that the pipe leading to it is frozen. This is also a possibility if only a small amount of water comes out for an extended period of time. You should check all the taps in your home to see if it’s limited to just one pipe.
An Unpleasant Odor
If your drain or toilet starts to smell strange, that can also indicate a frozen pipe. Since ice has blocked the way, sewer gases have nowhere to go except back up the other direction. This is more likely to occur in the lowest level or basement of a building because pipes here tend to be less insulated.
Unusual Leaks or Dampness
Frozen pipes can lead to leaks without actually bursting open. If your drywall, carpeting or ceiling is wet, then you could have a leak caused by a frozen pipe. To locate the trouble site, it may be better to leave the search to a professional since it’s harder for the average homeowner to expose pipes in walls.
Visible Signs of Freezing
Frozen pipes don’t always carry visible signs, but homeowners should still be on the lookout for them. If one is exposed to the cold air, it may have frost on it. Another sign of freezing is that the pipe is bulging from the expanding ice inside. If a pipe is bulging or frosted over, there’s a chance that it has already started to crack, and cracks aren’t always visible. When you go to thaw the pipe, you should have a bucket ready in case water starts coming out.
If you’ve found a frozen pipe in your home, then you can choose to thaw it yourself or have a professional plumber come in and do it for you. A professional is the better option if the pipe is in an area that’s not readily accessible or if it needs to be replaced due to cracks or bulges
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.