How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes in Your Portland Oregon Home

by | Jan 22, 2013 | Living Urban

How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes in Your Portland Oregon Home

Frozen pipes are a serious concern in the bitterly cold winter weather.  When a pipe bursts in your Portland Oregon home, it spills several hundred gallons of water per hour, which can equate to thousands of dollars of damage to your home.

If you didn’t get a chance to insulate and prepare your water pipes before that hard frost hit, here are some tips to thaw frozen pipes in your Portland Oregon home:

  • Prevent potential flooding.  To prevent flooding, you may want to shut off the main water supply.  If the pipe bursts before it’s thawed, you definitely want to immediately shut off the main water supply.
  • Check for damage.  Check for holes, cracks or breaks along the pipe.  If there is no damage and the pipe is simply frozen, immediately thaw the frozen pipe using tips from #4 below.  If there is damage…
  • Repair the damage.  Repair methods depend on the damage:  Repair a pinhole.  A pinhole can be repaired by wrapping the pipe with electrical or duct tape. Repair a hairline crack.  Cover a hairline crack with a pipe clamp. Repair larger cracks.  You may need to replace that section of pipe, or have a plumber replace it.  But, first, you can try repairing the pipe with a patch kitThaw the pipe.  If you’ve been able to repair the pipe without replacing it, or the pipe was not damaged, it’s time to thaw the pipe.  Thaw it by applying heat to the frozen section. Always heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. Never use a torch. Instead use a hairdryer or heat gun on a low setting. You can also place a heat lamp or small electric heater near the pipe or wrap the pipe in heat tape or an electric blanket.  You can even wrap the pipe in towels and pour hot water over them.

Safety Alerts!

  • When using a hairdryer, heat gun, heat lamp or electric heater, please be aware of wet floors and the potential danger of electric shock. Check the area. If you find potentially dangerous electrocution hazards or extensive damage to pipes, call a plumber for assistance.
  • Never use a flame torch because of the fire hazard it creates. Open flame torches are the most common cause of pipe thawing related home fires.
  •  Insulate pipes. Once you’re sure your pipes are damage free and thawed, insulate your pipes to prevent this from happening again.

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