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Frozen Water LInes

I live in Crossville TN and due to the recent freezing, snowy, icy weather, the lines into the garage and my washer have frozen.  Inside the house is fine.  Is there an relatively simple way to unfreeze them?  How can I prevent this from happening again?

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Posted 2011-01-10T16:27:41+0000  by wyndancer7 wyndancer7

they make a wire that you can wrap around your pipes that plug into 110 outlet that helps  keep the  pipes from freezing

Posted 2011-01-10T17:45:16+0000  by mopar1000

HI Wyndancer7, This is Mike The Home Depot Answer Man, welcome to the community.


This has been an especially cold winter in the south. My sister lives in Atlanta and it is snowing there today, Amazing!  Now to get to your problem.  


The first step is to disconnect the hoses to your washer, and open the shutoff valve. This is how you will determine when water starts to flow again. Place a pan or bucket under the shutoff.  As the pipe thaws water will begin to drip from the shutoff.  Next locate the water shut off for the entire house. Make sure it is operational, and turn it off.  If the frozen pipes have burst, often a result of freezing, water will flood your garage quickly when the pipes thaw.


Now you’re ready to begin the thawing process. The best heat source is an infrared heat lamp. Infrared heat lamps work best because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipes.  If you have a heat lamp you can buy an infrared bulb at any hardware store or your local Home Depot.  A portable electric heater will work also.


 If the pipes are exposed, aim the heat directly at the pipes, if they are concealed aim the heat toward the wall, but keep the heat source at least 18 inches from the wall to prevent the possibility of a fire.


A word of caution, do not use any device with an open flame such as a torch or a propane heater. Garages have a lot of potential fire causing chemicals and fumes as well as flammable items stored there. You don’t want to create an even bigger problem such as a fire. Warming up the garage in general will cause the pipes to thaw.


Once the water starts to drip, check the pipes to see if there are any cracks or splits due to freezing and mark those points for repair.  If the pipes look ok, slowly turn on the main water shut off and check again for leaks.  Once the water is flowing normally, turn off the valve at the washer and reattach the hoses and then turn it back on.


To prevent freezing in the future, you can purchase several types of pipe insulation at your local Home Depot.  The associates in the plumbing department can assist you in choosing the best type for your home. If the pipes are concealed you will have to open the wall to install pipe insulation.


I hope these ideas are useful to you.



Posted 2011-01-10T19:30:44+0000  by Mike_HD_OC
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