Frozen pipes are a common problem that homeowners face during winter, especially when the temperature drops below freezing point.
The problem becomes even more complicated when the pipes are located underground, making it difficult to access and thaw them.
In this article, we will discuss how to thaw frozen pipes underground and prevent this problem from happening in the future.
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Why are Underground Pipes Prone to Freezing?
Underground pipes are more susceptible to freezing than above-ground pipes because they are located in an area where the temperature is consistently cold.
The cold air surrounding the pipes combined with the lack of insulation can cause the water inside the pipes to freeze, resulting in a blockage.
This blockage can cause the water pressure in the pipes to increase, which can result in a pipe burst, causing significant water damage to your property.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes Underground?
Thawing frozen pipes underground is not an easy task, but it can be done with the right tools and techniques.
Here are the steps to follow:
Locate the Frozen Pipe
The first step in thawing a frozen pipe is to locate the exact location of the blockage. You can do this by listening for the sound of water rushing through the pipes or by using a thermal imaging camera to identify the area that is colder than the rest of the pipes.
Turn Off the Water Supply
Once you have located the frozen pipe, turn off the water supply to the affected area. This will prevent any water from flowing through the pipes, which will make it easier to thaw the blockage.
Use a Heating Pad
A heating pad can be used to gently thaw the frozen pipe. Place the heating pad around the frozen area and let it sit for 30-60 minutes. Make sure to monitor the temperature of the pad to avoid overheating and damaging the pipes.
Use a Hair Dryer
If you do not have a heating pad, you can use a hair dryer to thaw the frozen pipe. Direct the hot air from the hair dryer at the frozen area for 30-60 minutes, moving the dryer around to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed.
Use Hot Water
Another method of thawing a frozen pipe is by using hot water. Pour hot water over the frozen area, making sure to pour it slowly to prevent the pipes from overheating. This method is faster than using a heating pad or hair dryer, but it requires a steady hand and close monitoring to avoid damaging the pipes.
Call a Professional Plumber
If you are unable to thaw the frozen pipe on your own, it is best to call a professional plumber. A plumber will have the right tools and experience to safely thaw the frozen pipes and make any necessary repairs.
Preventing Frozen Pipes Underground
Prevention is always better than cure, and this is especially true when it comes to frozen pipes.
Here are some tips to prevent your pipes from freezing:
Insulate the Pipes
Insulating your pipes will keep them warm and prevent them from freezing. You can use foam insulation or electrical heating tape to insulate your pipes.
Keep Your Home Warm
Keeping your home warm will prevent the pipes from freezing. Make sure to keep your home heated to at least 55°F during the winter months.
Seal Any Air Leaks
Sealing any air leaks around your pipes will prevent cold air from entering and causing the pipes to freeze.
Use caulk or foam to seal any gaps or cracks in your home’s foundation, walls, or windows.
Let the Water Trickle
During extremely cold weather, let a small trickle of water run from your faucets. This will keep the water moving through the pipes and prevent it from freezing.
Disconnect Garden Hoses
Disconnect all garden hoses from your outside faucets.
This will prevent water from being trapped inside the hose, which can freeze and cause the pipes to freeze as well.
Keep Your Garage Doors Closed
If you have pipes located in your garage, make sure to keep the garage doors closed during extremely cold weather.
This will prevent the cold air from entering and causing the pipes to freeze.
In conclusion, thawing frozen pipes underground is a challenging task that requires patience and the right tools and techniques.
If you are unable to thaw the pipes on your own, it is best to call a professional plumber.
To prevent frozen pipes from happening in the future, make sure to insulate your pipes, keep your home warm, seal any air leaks, let the water trickle, disconnect garden hoses, and keep your garage doors closed.
By following these tips, you can keep your pipes flowing smoothly during the winter months.