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Preventing Pipes from Freezing and How to Thaw

Updated on August 25, 2016

Preventing Pipes from Freezing | Monitoring

Well, I am a techie geek, but in this hub, I will be crossing the weather, plumbing, and technical world all at once. Here in Pennsylvania, it has been averaging 20 degrees Fahrenheit or less for the last week. At my house I have a concern for this because part of my crawlspace foundation wall is exposed to the outside and not underground completely like the rest. So, the last thing I want is my pipes to freezing up.

So, here is what I did. I visited my local Home Depot and purchased a indoor/outdoor wireless thermostat (about $25.00,) and brought it home. I placed the remote weather station in the crawlspace where most of the piping is, and where it would likely freeze first. The main station is upstairs in the warm house.

Even though this thermometer is suppose to be used for outdoors, it does a dandy job of letting me know what is going on down there in terms of temperature. It is staying about 44 degrees F. right now at 0-10 degrees. I am happy, because this is above freezing, however, in the near future, I will be installing some heat lamps that point directly to the earth. My crawlspace is a walk-in type, and dirt, so this will be safe, however I wouldn't recommend putting heat lamps pointing directly at pipes (especially plastic,) because they could melt, etc.

What to Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Well, if your pipes froze, and didn't bust or crack, then you have no reason to panic just yet.

Steps:

  1. Open both the hot and cold of a given faucet inside the house to a drip, likely nothing will come out right away, but this is ok. What you are doing is a preventative to keep the pipes from bursting as they thaw.
  2. Now the pipes that are frozen need warmed up. It is suggested to do this slowly, this can be down with a space heater, heat lamps, or if you know exactly where the frozen point is, given it is not all the pipes frozen, use a blow dryer. Keep in mind that if you have pvc pipes, be careful not to melt or warm the pipes. All that is needed is 33-40 degrees to begin a nice slow, easy melt process to get the water flowing again.
  3. Keep in mind that if your pipes do burst, know where the emergency shut off is and that you are able to shut it off. At this point, a plumber should be called along with your home owners or renters insurance. If you rent, it might be a good idea to have contacted your landlord first before trying to repair the problem yourself. They need to be aware of the issue for liability reasons.

There are some options for copper to keep them warm, by installing an on the pipe heater. PVC on the other will need to keep the area above freezing temperatures with heat lamps or some other method of heating such as space heaters. Keep in mind while space heaters have become considerably safer over the years, water and electricity still don't mix, and you don't want a space heater in a tight closed space, this will prevent a fire hazard. The heaters need to maintain a safe distance from objects as well. Consult your user manual for safety operations.

Thawing Pipes Tuturial

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    kilo 8 years ago

    Thanks...awesome info. Wish I read this before my pipes burst, but at least know I know what I'm dealing with.

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