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A frozen pipe leading down.

5 Steps to Identifying Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are very frustrating for homeowners. It means no hot water for showers, dishwashers, or washing machines. It’s even worse if the pipes are hidden behind walls. When frozen for long periods, pipes tend to burst open because of the water’s freeze-and-thaw effect.

It’s difficult to know where exactly a pipe is frozen. It can be frozen at an isolated point – affecting just one part of the house – or it can happen at multiple points in the entire pipe system of your house. Read on to learn some telltale signs of frozen pipes, how to locate them, and some fixes.

Telltale Signs

Homeowners should be on the lookout for these indicative signs of frozen pipes:

  • The water flow slows down significantly
  • Visibly cracking pipes or accumulated frost
  • Strong musty smells coming from the faucet (this happens if the sewer pipe is frozen)
  • Unusual sounds coming from the pipes, such as banging and gurgling

Identifying Frozen Pipes

Once you’ve suspected a pipe is frozen somewhere, it’s time to locate the piping.

1. Check the extent of freezing

If water does not come out of any of the faucets at home, your pipes are frozen near the water meter or everywhere.

2. Check if outdoor faucets are working

If water trickles out of the faucets, you might have to check an outdoor tap. If the outdoor tap doesn’t seem to work, the main pipe entering your house is frozen. Follow the water pipeline leading out of your house.

3. Check the likely spaces

These include pipes in the outdoors, in the crawl space, garage, basements, and attic. These pipes are sometimes not insulated, so check the spaces thoroughly.

4. Pipes in the wall

If pipes in all the exposed parts seem to be working fine, a frozen pipe could be hidden behind the walls. For this, you will have to call for residential plumbing services.

5. Locate the frozen area

Once you have figured out the frozen pipes, you need to locate the points where it’s frozen exactly. This is where the expanded ice has blocked the water flow.

A plumber fixing a pipe

Thawing the Pipes

After locating the points of frozen water inside the pipes, you will have to apply some heat to attempt to thaw the ice.

  • Use a hairdryer starting with the faucets and slowly working your way through the pipes
  • Use a heating pad or blanket by wrapping it around the pipe and plugging it in.
  • Avoid using an open flame which can cause the pipe to burst; people have also caused fires trying to thaw the pipes
  • Call in plumbers and leave it to the professionals: this is the safest approach to fixing your pipes.

At Action Craft Experts, we are a team of trusted plumbers in Spokane, providing both residential and commercial plumbing services. Using advanced techniques and technical tools, we can resolve all kinds of plumbing repair and service problems, including frozen pipes.

Get in touch now with our professional plumbing contractors to get a free estimate.