At Rol Air, this time of year we get a lot of calls about frozen pipes. They are a big problem for some homeowners, and there are two reasons why:
No Running Water: The most obvious problem with frozen pipes is no access to running water. That means no toilets flushing, no showers or water from your sinks or washing machine, etc.
Pipes Can Burst: The other problem that can occur when a pipe freezes is that the pipe actually bursts.
When this happens, pressure is created between the closed faucet and the blockage that builds up and can reach a point to where the pipe will explode creating a huge mess and likely affecting things beyond just the pipe (flooring, furniture, cabinetry, etc).
If the pipe is outside of the home and explodes, it can create very dangerous walking conditions if it is below freezing outside.
Pipes on an exterior wall are the mostly likely to freeze due to lack of insulation to keep them warm during winter temps. Pipes in attics and basements can also be problematic because of colder temperatures in the space along with inadequate insulation.
Below are four signs of frozen pipes:
Temperatures are below freezing – If you have pipes in your home that lack proper insulation and/or are on an exterior wall or a space that is typically colder in your home, you should take steps to prevent freezing.
Frost on the pipe – If you can see those pipes (like under your sink, etc), you may be able to see frost on the exterior of the pipe. This is a big warning sign that you need to heed – if you see frost, do not turn on your faucet.
No water coming from the faucet – that’s a sure sign in cold weather that a pipe is frozen. If water pressure is greatly reduced, you also likely have a frozen pipe problem.
Odor – If the temperature is below freezing and you smell an odd oder coming from a faucet or a drain, it could be a smell that is backing up into your home due to the blocked pipe.
What to do if you have a frozen pipe in your home:
Act quickly. Thaw the pipe – Use a space heater or even a blow dryer or hot towels, but be aware of the space you are in and only use if you can do so safely.
Or, call a licensed plumber (Rol Air Plumbing & Heating at 763-515-6411), and they can take care of this for you.
You want to thaw it BEFORE it bursts.
Information about repairing a frozen or burst pipe:
Cost and who to call all depends on two things:
Where the pipe is located (behind sheetrock or simply under a cabinet)
Frozen or burst. If you suspect you have a frozen pipe in your home, please give us a call. We are happy to help, and can help before it bursts.
If you have a pipe that bursts in your home, your first call should be to your insurance agent to see what is covered by your policy.
We can help when it comes to fix the actual pipe or to resolve the problem permanently, but the best approach is to pay attention to warning signs and get it unthawed first, and then deal with a long term solution when not a crisis.