Tag: Water Leaks

How to Thaw Out Frozen Water Pipes

Thaw Out Frozen Water PipesThe recent cold weather vortex that has descended on Canada and the United States has caused many home owners to deal with frozen pipes. Once a pipe freezes, there is no water for even basic necessities, especially if it is the pipe near the entry point to your home. If you are lucky the pipe will thaw at some point and the water will flow once again without any leaks. At the very worst you have a serious water leak and if the water is not shut off immediately, major flooding and damage in your home. Home owners can take precautions to avoid frozen water pipes. Once you have a frozen water pipe, the question remains about how to thaw out frozen water pipes.

How to Thaw Out Frozen Water Pipes

Whatever you do, do not use a blow torch. There is tremendous danger in starting a fire which can quickly get out of control and actually burn your house down. Every year there are stories in the news of someone doing just that. You home owner’s insurance may not cover this kind of catastrophe which would be huge.

Avoiding a frozen pipe in the first place is obviously the way to go, however we will cover that later in this post.

First if your pipes are frozen, i.e. there is no water flowing you need to take action immediately. If you can quickly identify the area where the pipes are frozen, turn up the heat in the area immediately to thaw out frozen water pipes. Install a portable heater in the area as well. It may take a few hours, but the pipes will eventually thaw. If there is a specific area and you can get to it, sometimes a hair blower will help to thaw the pipe.

Check for any obvious areas like the one in the picture. A leak like this one can quickly cause a great deal of water damage. In addition to warming up the room, shut the main water pipes off and then cut out the area and repair it. You may need to call a plumber to make these repairs.

It is much more difficult to thaw out frozen water pipes inside walls are much more difficult. Any pipe that is on an outside wall is a candidate for being frozen in very cold weather. With insufficient insulation and a cold interior room these pipes can quickly freeze and crack the pipe. Look for signs of water damage and then open up the wall where the pipes are. You will have to repair drywall etc. however finding the leak is of paramount importance. Keep the rooms that have water pipes in outside walls warm to help thaw the pipes. Again a plumber may be needed to make repairs.

Check with your home insurance company to find out what coverage you may be eligible for.

Avoiding Frozen Water Pipes

If a cold snap is imminent and your concerned about pipes freezing, turn up the heat in those rooms with water pipes on outside walls. You will spend more energy heating the rooms, but this is minimal compared to dealing with the damage from leaking water pipes etc.

Anytime a wall is opened up either move the water pipe to an inside wall or make sure that it is adequately insulated for the most extreme temperatures you will experience in your area. Keep your furnace running to keep these rooms warm.

Many frozen water pipe situations occur when furnaces fail or the electricity is out for an extended period. If your going to be away from your home for more than a few days, shut the main water valve off to avoid any water leaks while you are not there. Have someone check your home every few days to make sure the furnace is running and your home is heated. They should also know what action you would want the to take if there is no heat in your home. i.e. call a furnace repairman, plumber etc.


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Repairing Mold Damage from Leaking Water Pipes

Mold Damage from Leaking Water PipesMost consumers will never have to deal with mold damage from leaking water pipes. We hear of major floods and homes being totally destroyed by flood water or the subsequent mold that covers everything. These situations require professional intervention and major repairs. There are millions of other leaks such as the one shown in this picture that occur everyday and can develop into significant mold sources as well as causing significant damage to the home. If there are enough mold spores in the air, even your family can become sick and require medical attention. Any time you suspect mold developing, deal with it immediately and do not allow it to become a major expensive problem.

Mold Damage from Leaking Water Pipes

Sources of water and subsequently mold:

  • Slow leaking water pipes
  • A small leak in the roof
  • Windows are another source
  • Damp, dark and warm are the best places

Your health can be compromised if you do not deal with this problem, not to mention the damage and the cost of the repairs. The first step is to always repair the leak and eliminate the source of the water causing the mold. In other words – Fix the leak

Routine checks are good to do as well. Under sinks and around toilets are good places to check. If you smell dampness, follow your nose and check for mold.

Next you need to begin repairs and renovations. Start by removing all damaged wood and removing all drywall. If the mold is extensive, you will need to take special precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and breathing apparatus. You may want to hire professionals if it is a large job. Also ensure that the mold spores cannot spread to the rest of the home where they can cause health issues and the further spread of the mold.

If anyone has asthma in the home or is subject to allergies, you may want them to stay outside the home while this work is being competed.

Hire professionals if you are not comfortable!



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