With winter soon to be upon us, customers are reminded to be aware of the conditions of their personal plumbing lines. Pipes in unheated or uninsulated areas, such as garages, crawl spaces, or basements can be extra susceptible to freezing and bursting. Pipes in these areas should be wrapped with heat tape, insulation, or otherwise provided a source of heat to prevent bursting. In cases where lines may be susceptible to freezing and cannot be provided supplementary heat, such as a shallow buried service line, a slight trickle of water should be allowed to run through the pipe at all times until the danger of freezing has passed. While this may cause a slight increase to your water bill, frozen or burst pipes can cost thousands of dollars to repair in some circumstances.
Pipes that have frozen can be slowly thawed using a hair dryer or heat gun on a low setting. The use of blowtorches or other high-heat items is generally discouraged as it can damage the pipe or set surrounding materials aflame.