The easiest way to deal with frozen pipes is to avoid them in the first place. But when the temperature really plummets, pipes can freeze – and a homeowner, property owner or business owner then has an urgent need to thaw the pipes to get water flowing again.
In many cases, a frozen pipe may be nothing more than a minor inconvenience. But if not properly taken care of, a frozen pipe could lead to serious property damage. A frozen pipe insurance claim can cost an average of $5,000.
To aid you in avoiding problems during cold weather, we offer this primer on how to deal with frozen pipes when they do occur. Note that it is normally during the thawing process that real issues become evident.
Possibly more important than knowing how to unfreeze your pipes is knowing what not to do when they freeze. You shouldn’t use any device with an open flame, such as a torch, kerosene or propane heater, or charcoal stove, to thaw your pipes. These devices can present a serious fire hazard.
You should also avoid using a heat gun on the piping in your home or business. Common heat guns can reach a temperature of 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit (593 degrees Celsius). This is more than sufficient to accidentally start a fire with surrounding building materials. It also far exceeds the melting point of any PVC piping in homes or commercial buildings.