Your pipes are frozen… now what? Local experts offer tips to save your plumbing in the winter


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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — By now, most people know to let their faucets run to prevent pipes from freezing, but what happens when they do? Plumbers say there are some things you can try to fix the problem, but even for them it is difficult to identify and fix the problem.

“I brushed my teeth, turned off the tap and didn’t even think about it,” Christiaan Patterson said.

It was a mistake the owner realized she had made too late.

“I’m like please, please, please,” she said as she tried them on when she woke up, “and I turned on the tap and nothing. “

This is the consternation that people across the state are facing.

“I’ve had the most frozen pipe calls I’ve ever had and I’ve been a plumber for 27 years,” said Jason Walmsley of Trinity Plumbing. “I’ve never seen him like this.”

Depending on where your pipes are, Walmsley said you might be able to thaw them yourself.

“If it’s just the hot side, it’s usually the water lines in the water heater closet are frozen, especially in the garage,” he said. “If it’s the whole house, I’ve seen underground water connections that are frozen, and if that’s the case you have to wait until it heats up unfortunately.”

He said that as long as you don’t leave them unattended, you can try space heaters or even hair dryers, although the latter are less effective. Just be sure to open the cabinets and turn on the faucet so the water can flow out if it thaws.

“Unfortunately in my experience most of the time the little electric heaters and stuff like that don’t work, especially with the cold it is now,” he said.

Even with his tools, solving the puzzle is difficult.

“You look at an area, if it’s nothing, you move and keep going and keep going,” Walmsley said.

And while insulation can work, even heavy-duty construction-grade insulation is likely to do little good at these temperatures. Also, if your pipes are already frozen, wait until they thaw before wrapping them.

The best prevention is to run your faucets more than a drip.

“I would go way beyond the drops of water,” Walmsley said. “I wouldn’t open the tap completely, but almost halfway. I know that sounds crazy and can waste a lot of water, but in my mind it’s cheaper than your pipe freezing and breaking, especially in a bad place like under the house or in a wall. I would run all the faucets in your house.

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