How To Deal With A Frozen Pipe

This is part of a series of articles provided by the Plumber Chelmsford website.

The first thing to do if you have a burst pipe is to prevent water passing the point of the leak. Turn off all stop valves. These are often situated under the kitchen sink. If there is no internal valve, turn off the water at the external valve which may be under a cover in your garden or driveway. 

If the escaping water cannot be controlled immediately, turn on all cold water taps in the house so that the pipework and storage system drains quickly but do not turn on the hot taps.  Turn off the central heating system and, if it uses a solid fuel boiler, allow the fire to die out. Switch off any electric immersion heater.

If you have a frozen pipe, turn off the mains water supply at the stop valve inside your home. If the frozen pipe runs from a storage cistern and is not controlled by a valve, check that it has not split. If it has, empty the cold water storage cistern by opening the cold water taps and flushing the toilet. If the pipe is not split, thaw it out by applying hot water bottles. Do not try to thaw it too quickly as there may be splits in the pipe which are not immediately noticeable. Never use a naked flame to thaw a pipe. Always start thawing a pipe at the end nearest the tap.

If any part of the hot water system is frozen, there could be a risk of explosion if the boiler is kept alight, so ensure it is turned off, or for solid fuel systems, put out the fire. Be careful as although water may be flowing from taps, other parts of the system may still be frozen.

You are then advised to call a professional plumber.

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