Have an Emergency Plan for Dealing with Frozen Pipes

Posted Monday, January 16th, 2017

Michigan winters are tough. Make sure you know what to do if your pipes freeze.

You did everything you could to prevent frozen pipes this winter. You added extra insulation, safely dismantled hoses, wrapped pipes in extra insulation, and kept the house warm. Still, once the temperature falls you should have a plan for dealing with frozen pipes, just in case.

Inspect your pipes for signs of freezing.

Check on the pipes you think are most likely to freeze. If you see frost along the length of a pipe or an area that looks abnormally swollen your pipe is probably frozen. There is another less obvious indicator that your pipe is frozen as well.  If you turn on the tap and nothing comes out, you may have a frozen pipe. You may not know exactly which pipe carries water to that section of the house, but check any nearby that lie along the exterior walls.

Shut off the water to the frozen pipe.

You should familiarize yourself with where water shut-off valves are located. In a crisis you don’t want to be running around like a slapstick comedian, getting soaked and looking for the shut-off. If learning where all the shut-off valves are seems too intimidating, at least know where the main water shut-off valve is for your home.

Thawing frozen pipes.

When you locate the frozen pipe there are a few things you can do to thaw it out before it bursts. Warm the pipe with a safe heating source, like an electric heating pad, a hair dryer, a space heater, or heating tape. Never use a heat source with an open flame, particularly on plastic pipes. As you warm the pipes, leave the faucet open. When some of the ice melts, water will begin to run through the pipe, speeding the thaw. You’ll know you’ve melted all the ice once water pressure is back at full strength.

What to do after a pipe bursts.

The first thing to do when a pipe bursts is shut off the water supply to this particular part of the house. You want to cut off the gushing water quickly as possible. Then call a licensed plumber who is qualified to make the repair, and your insurance agent. Finally, contact Modernistic. Freezing temperatures might be round the clock, but we’re here too with 24/7 emergency assistance. Our mitigation crew will arrive within an hour and a half to begin assessing the damage and extracting the water. When frozen pipes flood your home, Modernistic is there.

Serving Berkley, Michigan, for 40 years.