Fire Department Passes On Tips On Thawing Frozen Pipes

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hopefully, you've made it through this cold snap without frozen pipes, but if not, here is some good information on thawing them safely.

How do you know your pipe is frozen? After a bitterly cold night, you turn on your tap and instead of a steady gush of water you get a sickly trickle followed by...nothing. Since water expands when it freezes -- and pipes don't -- a frozen pipe is in danger of bursting. It needs to be thawed.

First you need to find out where the pipe is frozen.

Turn off the main water supply. This will prevent the water from gushing out once the pipe is thawed. Then open the taps in the house.

If water isn't running anywhere in the house, a pipe near the water meter may be frozen. Touch the meter and the adjacent exposed pipes. If they are very cold, they are probably frozen.

If water runs in only one part of the house, a pipe in an outside wall or un-insulated crawl space is probably frozen. Open kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets to allow warm air from the house to warm the pipes.

Once you've found the frozen pipe, open the affected faucet all the way, and open other hot water faucets in the house. When the water is flowing in the affected pipe, close all the faucets to a trickle. Do not close the affected faucet until the pipe is completely thawed and the water flowing freely.

The safest -- and neatest -- thawing methods involve a gentle heat source: hair dryer, heat lamp, or household iron. A propane torch or other open flame will heat the pipe too quickly and may cause it to explode. Some people recommend pouring boiling water over rags wrapped around a frozen pipe. The obvious drawback is that this method is messy. Never pour boiling water directly onto a frozen pipe.

When thawing pipes with a heat lamp or hair dryer always work from an open faucet toward the frozen area. This will keep steam from being trapped by ice and bursting the pipe. With the faucet open, you can see when the ice has melted. Do not use un-grounded electrical appliances outdoors, or near grounded water pipes.

To prevent pipes from freezing in the first place, wrap electrical heating cable around it--one turn every two feet--then cover the pipe with insulation to conserve the heat. Follow all directions on the heating cable and take special care not to overlap the cable. Plug in the cable when the temperatures drops below freezing. The same cable device can be used to thaw a pipe. -- MichiganState University Extension.


PHOTOS: Wayne-O-Rama Press Conference

A press conference at the Public Library announced a year-long Wayne-O-Rama art installation centered around the work of Hixson native Wayne White (click for more)

Family Action Council Of Tennessee Names Rep. Mike Carter A “Family Champion”

The Family Action Council of Tennessee has awarded Rep. Mike Carter the organization’s “Family Champion” award for his voting record of protecting families in Tennessee.   FACT is an organization that was founded in 2006 by David Fowler. Since its establishment, the group’s primary mission has been “To equip Tennesseans and their elected officials to effectively promote ... (click for more)

Beck Upset By Criticism Of Late WWTA Director Cleveland Grimes In WWTA Analysis; Boyd Won't Rewrite 57-Page Report

County Commissioner Greg Beck said it was inappropriate for fellow Commissioner Tim Boyd to include articles critical of the late Cleveland Grimes in a 57-page report on the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority. He said, "Criticizing a dead man - I don't know if that's appropriate. If that's Christianity, let me off the wagon." Saying the report should ... (click for more)

Investor In Scheme Says Dyer Made Contacts At Quarterback Club

One of the investors who was a loser in an investment scheme recently halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission said one of the Chattanooga brokers involved made many of his contacts through the Chattanooga Quarterback Club. Paul Smith, former Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman, said Doug Dyer has been the president for many years of the club that promotes UTC and ... (click for more)

Give Bullet-Proof Vests To Every Black Youth In The City

I heard a report that the Chattanooga police were being given better bullet-proof vests, and I had an idea. What if Chattanooga became known for something besides electric buses and fast internet service? What if Chattanooga provided a bullet-proof vest to every young black man and black youth in the city limits?   I can hear the scoffing as I write, but think about it. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Horses Vs. DesJarlais

It is well-known that shortly after the despicable “Big Lick” faction of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry put on a very-pointed fundraiser for the equally repugnant Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) two years ago, the misguided doctor has repeatedly tried to bully and strong-arm the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the behalf of the vermin who sadistically torture the ... (click for more)