Thawing Frozen Pipes
Frozen plumbing pipes, although inconvenient, do not
constitute a calamity. The calamity may come if the pipes are thawed with
a blow torch, and if the open flame or the torch is allowed to come too
close to combustible material, such as insulation, wooden joists or flooring.
Another danger from the use of a torch arises when
both ends of a pipe are clogged with ice and when the heat is applied
in the center. The application of the heat of the torch at the center
of the pipe is likely to cause the water to flash into steam potentially
causing an explosion with disastrous results for the user of the torch.
It is far better to adopt the slower and more conservative
procedure of melting ice by the use of a blow dryer, or heat gun.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the cold freezing weather sets in, make sure
that all the garden hoses outside your home are disconnected. Failing
to do so can cause not only the hose but also the hose bib to which it
is connected, to freeze and be damaged.
This is especially important with anti-freeze hydrants.
The hose must be disconnected to make the faucet freeze-proof. Failure
to do so will trap water in the faucet body, which then can freeze. If
the hose is disconnected, the anti-freeze faucet can properly drain, and
this will prevent freezing.
Water pipes which are exposed to freezing temperatures
or drafts should be covered with insulation. Whenever possible it is best
to drain systems not being used in severely cold weather. Small water
pipes will freeze quicker than will waste or sewer pipes.
Never leave a garage door open in severely cold weather,
if there is plumbing in the garage. The cold and draft can freeze water
lines in minutes. Pipes located in unheated basements or garages should
be insulated with a commercial covering.
When pipes are laid underground they should be below
the frost line to prevent freezing.