Eastern Pennsylvania’s winters are hard enough on body and soul without the added strain of frozen pipes. Many plumbers in Easton, PA are scrambling throughout the season to keep up with emergency calls, many of which could be avoided with proper precautions. If, even after taking some preventive steps, you still have pipes freeze up, knowing what to do could make the difference between a mild annoyance and a flooding emergency.
Easier than thawing out pipes in the basement or in a crawlspace beneath your Easton home is preventing your pipes from freezing in the first place. With the approach of winter, set up a fall schedule of routine plumbing maintenance:
- Drain swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines
- Detach, drain and store outdoor hoses
- Close valves inside your home that feed outside hose bibs, then open the outside hose bibs so standing water can drain, and keep the outside valves open so water can expand as it freezes without bursting the pipe
- Know your plumbing—inspect all piped areas of your house to know where pipes run through unheated spaces. This can include places you do not expect to find pipes, such as the attic or garage. In some of the fine old homes of Easton, Pa, years of renovations may mean pipes are hidden beneath or behind kitchen cabinets.
Hot- and cold-water pipes can benefit from soft foam pipe sleeves or fiberglass insulation wrap specially designed to protect pipes from extreme temperatures. You can also purchase—or have a professional plumber install—heat tape or heat cable that you plug in, keeping the pipe just warm enough to prevent frozen pipes without running up your electric bill.
Cold Weather Plan
As temperatures around Easton and Bethlehem plummet, have a plan of action:
- Keep garage doors closed; this can reduce heating costs but also protect water supply pipes running through the garage
- At night, open kitchen cabinet doors so the circulating air reaches inside, to exterior walls that may hold pipes; remember to keep harmful cleaning products locked up elsewhere
- Balance your water bill and potential plumbing bill by keeping valves or spigots of exposed pipes open so a trickle of water runs through; running water may prevent frozen pipes
- Check the overnight temperature setting on your thermostat to make certain you are not allowing indoor temperatures to drop enough to allow pipes to freeze
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If after all you have done to avoid frozen pipes you still have to deal with them, take these steps:
- Open the spigot or valve for any pipe you suspect has frozen; keep it open as you work on the pipe, placing a bucket under the valve if it is not emptying into a sink or tub
- Avoid using an open flame to heat the pipe. Instead, try an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer, a space heater to warm the room, or even towels soaked in hot water.
- Give the issue time; heating the room in which the pipes are located will help warm the pipes
When to Call for Help
If, after efforts to thaw frozen pipes, you still cannot get water moving through them, call a licensed professional plumber. Other reasons to call for help:
- Pipes have burst and water is actively leaking
- Pipes that you suspect may be frozen are beyond your reach, inside walls or crawlspace
- You have multiple frozen pipes
The expert plumber in Easton PA that residents have come to depend on for frozen pipes and other plumbing problems for over 120 years is Edwin Stipe, Inc. Contact us today if you have frozen pipes or other wintertime plumbing emergencies. Our trucks are on call 24/7.