HOW TO: Thawing frozen pipes
Here's a few tips for thawing frozen pipes.
- *Know where your main shutoff valve is and how to turn off the water. A burst pipe might not be evident until it thaws.
- *Use a hair dryer or heat gun. A propane torch is dangerous.
- *Use extreme caution around insulation. The paper facing on fiberglass insulation contains asphalt; it will ignite easily and burn fiercely.
- *Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
- *Open any faucets that aren't flowing. This will prevent pressure buildup in the pipes, and let you know when you have succeeded.
- *Using the hair dryer or heat gun, start warming the pipe near the affected faucet and slowly work your way back to the source.
- *Once water starts flowing, even if a trickle, have patience. The flowing water will thaw the ice.
- *If the water suddenly stops flowing, ice has shifted and is blocking at a fitting or the faucet. You may need to heat these areas again.
- *Once water flows at full volume, let it run a while to make sure that any remaining ice gets thawed.
Anyone else have more tips? Feel free to add them.
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