Burst pipes in a Minnesota winter are just plain nasty!
We hope you never call us for help with burst pipes, and to help you accomplish that goal we are going to share with you information on how to keep your pipes from freezing and how to thaw your pipes if they manage to freeze anyway.
It isn't that we don't want your business, we would rather not see you suffer through the mess and damage caused by burst water pipes.
Why are frozen pipes such a problem?
Water expands as it freezes. This puts huge amounts of pressure on the material that is containing it. If you put a plastic glass of water in the freezer as the water turns to ice it will expand upward because the top is open and provides no resistance to the expansion. Water that freezes inside of an enclosed area, such as a pipe in your home, has nowhere to expand and will eventually cause the pipe to burst.
Prevent your pipes from freezing.
Pipes that most often freeze are piping located on exterior walls, in crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen cabinets.
If you have any pipes in these susceptible locations take action to prevent freezing by installing products specifically made to prevent freezing.
- Pipe sleeve
- Heat tape
- Heat cable
During extreme cold, not unheard of in Minnesota, take preventative actions.
- Keep your garage doors closed to prevent heat loss through attached garages.
- Open cabinets that contain plumbing to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Run a faucet for the exposed piping, even a slow drip will help to prevent water from freezing.
- Bump up the thermostat.
- When away, keep your thermostat set to no lower than 55° F.
- Relocate your pipes.
Oops to late! How do I thaw frozen pipes?
First of all inspect your pipes for cracks, when the pipe is frozen it may not leak much or at all. Thawing a burst pipe may cause water to shoot out causing water damage to surrounding areas.
If the pipe has burst call a professional such as AEM Mechanical Services, Inc. to handle the situation for you. The expense of a qualified plumber can easily be less than the cost of expensive repairs to Sheetrock, carpeting and personal property.
If the pipe has not burst you may be able to thaw the frozen pipe without any damage to your home.
Open your faucet for the frozen pipe. Even a slow trickle will help you thaw the pipe.
Apply heat to the frozen pipe. Absolutely do not use any source of open flame.
- Electric heating pad.
- Electric hair dryer.
- Electric space heater. (Do not place near flammable materials or materials that may melt.)
- Wrap pipes in towels soaked in hot water.
- Apply heat until the water pressure is restored.
- Fix the issue to prevent the pipes from freezing again.
If you are unable to find where the pipe is frozen or can not access the frozen section, it is best to call on a professional.
For help with your frozen pipes, call AEM Mechanical Services, Inc. at 320-587-0991.