Your pipes are frozen…now what? Local experts offer tips for saving your plumbing in winter weather

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – By now, most people know to keep their faucets running to prevent pipes from freezing, but what happens when they do? Plumbers say there are some things you can try to fix the issue, but even for them, pinpointing and addressing the freeze is difficult.

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

It was a mistake the homeowner realized she made too late.

“I’m like please, please, please,” she said, trying them when she woke up, “and I turned the faucet and nothing.”

It’s dismay people across the state are dealing with.

“I’ve gotten the most frozen pipe calls I’ve ever had and I’ve been plumbing for 27 years,” said Jason Walmsley with Trinity Plumbing. “I’ve never seen it like this.”

Depending on where your pipes are located, Walmsley said you might be able to thaw them out 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 some water service lines under ground that are frozen, and if that’s the case you have to wait for it to warm up unfortunately.”

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

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

Even with his tools, solving the puzzle is tough.

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

And while insulation can work, even heavy-duty construction grade insulation will probably do little good in these temperatures. Plus, if your pipes are already frozen, wait until they thaw before wrapping them up.

The best prevention is running your faucets more than a drip.

“I would go far beyond dripping water,” Walmsley said. “I would not turn on the faucet all the way but almost halfway. I know it sounds crazy and may waste a lot of water but in my mind, that’s cheaper than your pipe freezing and busting, especially in a bad spot like under the house or in a wall. I would run every faucet in your house.”

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