Frozen pipes are the fear of every Chicago homeowner. All it takes is one cold night, one problem with your furnace, and you’re suddenly dealing with pipes filled with ice. In this blog, we’ll discuss what frozen pipes are, how to deal with frozen pipes this winter, and what not to do when your pipes freeze.
For fast, reliable plumbing services here in Chicagoland, call your friends at King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We offer 24/7 emergency frozen pipe repair services here in Oak Lawn, Frankfort, and Joliet, IL.
Why are frozen pipes such a problem?
As water freezes, it also expands. You may see this phenomenon when you make ice in a freezer ice tray: even when you fill the water up to the fill line, the resulting ice cubes often freeze over the top of that line.
In that scenario, the water has room to expand into as it freezes. However, in the case of your home’s pipes, there is no where for the ice to go. As the molecules expand, they push against the metal or ceramic sides of the pipe, exerting tremendous pressure on the interior walls.
Best case, the pipe walls hold, and there’s no long-term damage to your pipes. Worst case, they don’t, and you suddenly have water flooding into your home.
How to deal with frozen pipes this winter
Call us. Seriously: if you suspect your pipes have frozen, you need to call a licensed, professional plumber immediately. Doing so increases the chances that we can safely thaw out your pipes without long-term structural damage.
After you’ve called, shut off all the water to your home using the main water shut-off valve. There’ll still be some residual water in your home’s pipes, but this will at least limit the amount that can come out of a cracked pipe.
Here’s what not to do
Never try to thaw your home’s frozen pipes yourself! There’s a lot of “home remedies” out there on the Internet, from using a hair dryer to an electric blanket. At best, they just don’t work. At worst, they can actually increase the stress on your pipes, leading to a burst and other problems down the road. Or, they can present a danger to yourself and your family. Take that hair dryer, for instance. You’re using an electric appliance in a position where, if something went wrong, there could be water everywhere.
A professional plumber can help inspect the plumbing system prior to beginning the thawing, which helps identify if freeing the ice in one spot is going to cause a torrent in another damaged spot.
Call King for 24/7 frozen pipe services
If you suspect that your home’s pipes have frozen, call our team for 24/7 plumbing repair here in Chicagoland.