With the freezing temperatures here in Savoy, IL, water and drainpipes are at risk of becoming frozen themselves. While we do handle burst pipes and major plumbing disasters, Lanz Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. does not offer the service of thawing frozen pipes (water or drain) for the following reasons:

  • Very time-consuming, expensive
  • Liability
  • Waste of time
    1. Does not solve the problem
    2. Pipes are likely to freeze again

However, because we love our customers and we don’t want to leave you out in the cold, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand why frozen pipes occur, how to prevent them, and how to thaw them if you do get one:

Frozen Pipes Occur for 4 Basic Reasons

  1. Installation of pipes in an unconditioned space without adequate protection
  2. Insufficient heat in the area of the freeze
  3. Hoses left on outdoor spigots
  4. Cracks or voids allowing cold air to infiltrate spaces where pipes are located

Why Pipes Burst

When water freezes it expands. When a pipe bursts, the break does not necessarily occur at the exact spot where the ice blockage is located. Ice expansion will exert pressure against the pipe wall, but also pressurizes the water trapped between the ice and a closed valve or fixture.

As water continues to freeze and expand inside the pipe, it causes the trapped water to continue to increase in pressure. The increased pressure may cause a pipe to burst in a location where there is no ice blockage. The best practice is to be proactive with preventative maintenance before winter begins.

Preventive steps to take

1. Before cold weather sets in:

  • Know where your water shutoff is located
  • Ensure heating equipment has been serviced and is turned on
  • Disconnect any and all garden hoses
  • Insulate pipes in crawl spaces or unconditioned spaces
  • Inspect for cracks or voids in foundation or walls where pipes are located
  • Install temperature sensing alarms in vulnerable areas

2. After cold weather sets in:

  • Let water drip from a faucet
  • Open cabinet doors
  • Keep thermostats set to the same temperature

Tips for Thawing Exposed Frozen Pipes

  • Locate the frozen pipe
  • Open faucet the pipe feeds
  • Begin thawing process near the faucet and work towards the blockage
  • Options for tawing exposed pipes
    1. Hair dryer
    2. Heat lamp or portable space heater
    3. Hot towels
    4. Turn up the heat

Tips for Thawing Concealed Pipes

  • Locate frozen pipe
  • Turn up the heat
  • Cut section of wall to expose pipe(s)
  • Portable space heater

What to Do if the Pipe Bursts

  • Turn off water main
  • Open and drain faucets
  • Turn off water heater
  • Call a professional!

Dealing with a burst pipe? Lanz Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. is your go-to resource for all things related to your home’s plumbing. We care about our customers and our team is standing by, ready to handle any major plumbing issue. Give us a call today!

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