Sunday, January 11, 2009

Frozen pipes what to do

Heyy guys ... As it's now freeeeeeezing in Canada and specifically in Toronto and the GTA (and for sure in Montreal) it feels like -30, so in case you are facing a Frozen pipes kind of problem or you are planning to come to Canada ... so be prepared to have frozen pipes, specially in houses.

Thawing house water lines

To relieve any pressure and determine how extensive the problem is, open all faucets. If only one fixture is not working, you can assume that the pipe is frozen somewhere between that fixture and the line that leads to others. Locate where uninsulated water lines pass through an uninsulated space. Examine pipes adjacent to uninsulated foundation walls or in or adjacent to exterior walls, especially within sink and vanity cabinets, where the closed doors partially block room heat.

If the frozen pipe is a hot-water line, open a hot-water faucet. The moving water may thaw the pipes. If it is a cold-water line, open a cold-water faucet. If it is both or you're not sure, open both the hot and cold faucets. Keep opening faucets until the water flows freely or until you've opened them all.

Warm the pipes slowly wherever you have access to them. Work from an open faucet toward the frozen area. Possible approaches include hair dryers, heat lamps, towels soaked in hot water, electric heat tapes wrapped around pipes, and space heaters. If the frozen pipes extend into walls or floors, heating the pipe adjacent to where it enters and exits the wall will eventually thaw the section within the wall. Also turn up the heat in the room.

Let the water run for a minute or two. Then turn the faucet(s) off. Look for leaks everywhere you can see. Listen very carefully for hissing sounds where hidden pipes pass through walls or floors.

Dealing with frozen heating pipes

Frozen hydronic (hot-water) heating pipes present problems best addressed by a plumber. Your best bet in the meantime is to turn off the heating system's water supply, which will prevent a major flood in the event that a burst pipe thaws. Do not turn off the boiler if you have more than one heating zone on your thermostat, since another zone may be working.

Relieve any excess pressure in the system. Follow the same procedure you would to drain a waterlogged expansion tank: Shut the valve to the expansion tank. Attach a garden hose to the hose bib on the tank and extend the other end to a drain. Open the hose bib to drain the tank. Then close the hose bib and open the valve to the tank.

Good luck


Straight-Arrow said...

Best solution for thawing pipes and preventing frozen pipes is the Powerblanket. Their heated pipe wraps saved my bacon... many times!

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