You may have heard about the fire in Bangor caused by an open flame to the pipe.  That tactic is a big no-no for unfreezing your pipes and this time of year you need to arm yourself with some how-to so you're not paying up the wazoo (yep, that's what I wrote).

So what do you need to know?

The Bangor Fire Department has a few words of wisdom when it comes to thawing your frozen pipes.  From their website, the Bangor FD advises the following:

Home owners can use hair dryers, heat tape or space heaters on the affected areas.  DO NOT use any open flames, such as torches, to thaw the pipes!  To prevent frozen water pipes, run tap water on cold nights or install foam insulation sleeves around your pipes.  For more information, call (207) 992 – 4700.

Thanks to The Balance.com, here's a list of things to do when you've got frozen water in your pipes.  The key is slow pressure release or else you get burst pipes, water damage or a burned down home.  Nobody wants that- keep yourself and your home safe with these tips.

  • 1

    Do You Have a Frozen Pipe?

    First, you gotta know if you have a problem.  Start by turning on faucets.  If there's no water or only a tiny stream of water then you probably got yourself a frozen pipe.

  • 2

    Open the Faucet

    Once you have figured out which pipe is frozen, you must open up the faucet(s).  This will allow your water to start flowing, decrease the pressure in the pipe and help the pipe to start warming up.

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  • 3

    Start Thawing At the Faucet

    It is best to start thawing at the start of the pipe, at the faucet.  This allows the pressure to decrease inside the pipe while releasing the thawing water out of the pipe.  If the ice jam is far from the faucet you should still there.  It's all about gradual pressure release.

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  • 4

    Heating

    You have options:

    • Hair dryer
    • Portable space heater
    • Heating lamp
    • Hot towels
    • Electrical heating tape

    Continue heating until your pipes are clear and warmed up.  Slowly turn your main valve or other shut-off valve back on and see how the water pressure is doing- look for a normal flow.

    If you can't access the pipes, then you have a few heating options:

    • Turn up the heat in your house
    • Use an infrared lamp
    • Cut out the wall to expose the pipe
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  • 5

    TOO LATE?

    If it's too late, you gotta shut off the main valve, located near the water meter, or a shut-off valve closer to the pipe.

    Bite the bullet and call the plumber.  The cost of the plumber will outweigh the cost to fix your damaged home.

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