SOS: What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze

Temperatures have dropped and your faucet isn’t running. Here’s what you should do about a frozen pipe.
If you’re looking for an emergency plumber in Vancouver to fix a frozen pipe or a pipe that has burst, you’re probably not alone! At CampbellCare, we’re used to winter days when it seems everyone is calling for help to fix a frozen pipe—and since we offer 24/7 emergency service, you can be certain that we will get to you fast! Protect your home by learning a little bit about how you can recognize a frozen pipe, what you should do while you’re waiting for your emergency CampbellCare plumber to arrive, and how to prevent the problem in future.

How Can You Tell a Pipe Is Frozen?

Typically, frozen pipes are a problem when pipes are not well insulated and located where they are exposed to cold temperatures. We see frozen pipes more often in older homes, but they can happen in newer construction as well, especially if the pipe is located along an exterior wall or in an attic or basement.

How can you tell if your pipe is frozen? Look for the following signs:

  1. Outside temperatures will be below freezing.
  2. No water, or only a trickle of water will be coming out of your faucet or refilling the toilet after flushing.
  3. You may see frost on the visible surface of the pipe.
  4. You may smell odd odours from a blocked pipe.

Why Can’t You Just Wait for the Frozen Pipe to Thaw Out?

Most substances contract when they freeze. Water is the exception: it expands when frozen. A metal or plastic pipe that freezes may burst from the pressure of the expanding ice and cause water damage in your home. Waiting for the pipe to thaw on its own is not an option.

Start by turning up the heat and opening the faucets. If you have a dual control, open both the hot and cold water, to release some of the pressure in the pipe and, hopefully, let the water out as it melts.

If you can access the frozen pipe, it would be a good idea to try and thaw the pipe by heating it.

  • Always start thawing the pipe as near the faucet as you can and work your way backward across the pipe—that way the melting water has a way to get out instead of building up inside a blocked pipe.
  • Blow hot air on the pipe from a hair dryer or try wrapping the pipe in hot, moist towels.
  • As long as there is no water already leaking, you can also try plugging in an infrared lamp or space heater near the pipe to warm it up.
  • Do not try to heat the pipe with an open flame; you could damage the pipe or start a fire.

Of course, if the pipe is inside the wall or under a cabinet, call Campbell Care to dispatch your on-call plumber in Delta, BC or throughout the Vancouver area. We come equipped to thaw frozen pipes and repair pipes that have burst.

What Should You Do if the Pipe Has Burst?

Your first step as soon as you realize a pipe has frozen is to call CampbellCare. Our business is founded on long-lasting relationships with our clients, so you know you can call us for your emergency plumbing needs as well as for regular maintenance and upgrades to your plumbing and heating.

If your pipe has burst and water is leaking:

  1. Turn your water off at the main water valve. (If you live in an apartment or strata and don’t have access to the main water valve, notify the building’s custodian or property manager to turn off the water.)
  2. Go to your electrical panel and turn off electricity to the part of your home where the water is leaking. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination.
  3. If possible, move any furniture or carpet that can be damaged by the water.
  4. Start mopping! Damage increases with the length of time things are exposed to water. You can prevent mould and mildew by drying things out as quickly as possible.
  5. You may need to call a disaster restoration company to help you dry out dry wall and carpeting. They can bring in large fans and heaters that will speed up the drying process.

How You Can Prevent Pipes from Freezing

Keep an eye on the weather forecast! In very cold weather, turn your faucets on to a drip to keep water moving through the pipes. It’s also a good idea for homeowners to:

  1. Find a dependable plumber before an emergency strikes. CampbellCare’s 24/7 plumbers are the plumbers Surrey homeowners and property owners throughout the Lower Mainland have on their emergency call list.
  2. Call us for plumbing inspection and maintenance so you can be aware of poorly insulated pipes and take action before they become a problem.
  3. Know where your main water valve is so you can shut the water off in an emergency.

Need Help?

Don’t wait until your plumbing problem becomes worse. Call a plumber for help with your Vancouver, Surrey or Delta area home. CampbellCare has a highly-trained team, ready to come into your house and take care of the problem. Need help urgently? We offer emergency plumbing services to ease your mind and protect your family.

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