Water pipe frozen - what to do? The best tips!
- Prevent frost damage
- Longer absence
- Regular controll
- Thawing an open line
- 1st step: Preparation
- 2nd step: Thaw frozen pipe
- 3rd step: Check for burst pipe
- Thawing a pipe in the wall
- More information
- Hire specialist company "> Note insurance
In the cold - frosty season - it quickly happened that the water pipe is frozen. In order to avoid a pipe break in the sequence, must be acted quickly. Learn what you should do to counteract the problem immediately. In addition, we provide practical tips on how to effectively prevent the scenario!
In the winter months, sustained low temperatures set the water pipes strong. Due to such weather conditions, an insufficiently protected against frost line can freeze within a short time. In this case, not only the disturbed water supply is a major problem. If the water pipe is frozen, it may not withstand the influence of cold and pressure, so it ruptures or bursts. The consequences of a pipe burst: usually considerable water damage. In addition to exposed or outside laid water pipes and water pipes in the masonry against "frost attacks" are not immune. In any case, it is important to act promptly and always be careful and thoughtful to go to work, especially in the independent thawing of the water pipe, which is frozen!
Prevent frost damage
According to the German Insurance Association (GDV), line breaks are not a rare event: there are supposed to be more than one million cases per year - most of the damage occurs in winter. Damage that is not necessarily annoying because of the financial consequences, because you can take out insurance as a precaution. Much more unpleasant turn out to be the enormous amount of time and dirt that leaking pipes entail. Therefore, it makes sense to prevent frost on pipes consistently, so as not to get into the unfortunate situation.
The most important measure in winter is: heating, heating and heating again. You must not forget a room. Guest rooms, storage rooms and / or storage cellars - in short, little-used premises - must always be at least slightly heated. Do not be fooled by the frost guard position of the radiator valves. This position, which is usually characterized by a snowflake, preserves primarily the respective radiator before freezing. The more distant pipes, such as in the outer walls, are still at risk.
Almost more important is the heating in the absence, such as during a winter holiday. Or in buildings that remain unused for a long period of time, such as holiday homes. If the frost damage occurs in the moments when you are not present, you can not react to it so quickly. Although it does not have to be warm in the respective house, cold temperatures should nevertheless be avoided at all costs. In addition, it is advisable to ask a trustworthy person in the absence of several weeks, every now and then to check on the right and in the process also to check whether the heating is running as desired. Turn off the water supply before you leave - preferably at the main tap.
Then: You can completely shut off outside drainage points such as the water tap for garden irrigation over the winter. For these valves are partially pre-barriers available, which are located in the house. However, there are also faucets with a special mechanism, in which the crucial valve is inside and the pulling out in the wall to the outside line section automatically runs after being screwed. Important: Always close the windows, especially those in the basement.
In order to avoid a spatial cooling due to any malfunction of the heating, it is indispensable to regularly carry out a check by a specialist company. This generally means advantages, because: Those who follow this preventative measure for frost damage about once a year, often saves heating costs with the optimal setting of the system and the associated error-free operation.
All these measures help prevent freezing of water pipes. If the child has already fallen into the well, it must be done quickly, but also with care and caution. We show you how!
Tip: If there is any water left on a fitting or if radiators no longer heat up, these are possible signs that a water pipe is frozen.
Thawing: prevent serious consequences
As an experienced handyman, you can defrost the frozen water pipe yourself. Depending on whether it is an open or in-wall line, you have a different approach.
Thawing an open line
1st step: Preparation
- Switch on the heating (s), this considerably supports the whole process and, above all, ensures that no other pipes are affected as well.
- Find out which line is actually frozen. If you do not know exactly which line is supplying which tap, go to the store or to the basement where the lines are open. Look or feel for frozen areas. If the frozen pipe runs in the wall, mark the corresponding location and read on to section B below.
- Turn off the main tap and open the tap or valve on the blocked line. The former is for protection, the latter is necessary to balance the pressure created during the thawing process.
2nd step: Thaw frozen pipe
There are several variants available for this purpose:
- Hair Blower: Turn on the hair dryer to the highest level and walk carefully with it over the frozen areas.
- Hot air blower: A hot air blower works similar to a hair dryer, but it is stronger. However, there is no change in the procedure - move the device slowly along the pipe.
- Warm towels: Keep one or two rags under hot water or immerse in them. Then wring out the wipes and wrap them tightly around the frozen pipe section. Repeat this process every five to ten minutes - until the line has thawed.
- Heaters: Wrap electrical heaters around the frozen wire and then push the plug into the socket. Heaters consist of heating elements that warm up when turned on.
Tip: Regardless of which method you choose, you should work from the open tap in the direction of the blocked point when defrosting. This procedure prevents the bursting of the water pipe.
3rd step: Check for burst pipe
- Once the line has completely thawed out and the water in it has leaked out of the tap, gently open the main tap. If nothing happens in the sequence, you can assume that there is no major damage and you have intervened in good time. However, if the water meter runs, even though the tap is closed, it is clear: Somewhere, water comes out of the line, which in turn suggests a burst pipe.
- In the case described, quickly turn the main tap again and notify the specialist immediately. A quick repair prevents worse.
Thawing a pipe in the wall
- Heat the house to about 24 to 27 degrees Celsius and wait two to three hours.
- Watch the affected faucet to see if the water starts to drip out.
- Use a jig saw to saw the piece covering the pipe out of the wall.
- Step: Apply one of the methods listed above for defrosting an open water pipe.
- Step: Then check if there is a pipe break - as explained above at point 3a. If the problem exists, contact the installer immediately. Otherwise, move on to the 6th step.
- Step: Repair the wall and repaint it.
- Never place the heat in the same place on the frozen pipe for more than one second.
- Avoid opening the wall if you are not sure where the frozen water pipe is exactly.
- Always wear gloves when handling hot equipment or towels.
- Do not let the heating tapes overlap.
- Wrap it only once around the wire, for example in the form of a spiral.
- Under no circumstances should you use blowtorch or propane burners, candles, or any other type of open fire to thaw the line. Not only could they damage the line, but it could also cause a fire due to the immense heat.
Caution: The risk of fire, not only in the vicinity of the thawing site due to the use of unsuitable equipment, is considerable, because: In the worst case, the heat transported through the pipe ignites a fire in hollow or adjacent rooms, which initially goes unnoticed.
- Under no circumstances wait until the ice plug on the frozen pipe releases itself. Especially when the pipe break is in the wall, which is not uncommon, already several liters of water may have flowed into the masonry, before appearing on the plaster damp spots.
- Always work in a dry environment when using electrical equipment. Instead, switch off the fuse for the room and bring threatened inventory to safety as quickly as possible. Before doing so, you should take a minute to photograph the damage. The documentation will help you later with the settlement of your claims with the responsible insurance.
Contract specialist company "> In contrast, the specialist clarifies the situation on site and knows after a thorough check what he has to do. For example, he determines whether it is a steel, copper or plastic line. Depending on the material, the specialist company chooses the appropriate version for thawing your water pipe and, in the process itself, takes account of the places where hemp seals or Teflon tapes are located. Because such devices influence - in the truest sense - the flow of electricity and are highly flammable.
In addition, the expert checks to what extent the water line is already more seriously damaged. In the case of a ruptured or even burst water-bearing pipe immediately requires the initiation of countermeasures, which only an expert knows well. In the case of particularly serious damage to the water pipe, a renovation may even be necessary.
Tip: If you need to carry out a refurbishment, it is advisable to inform the company that at the same time you wish to install an adequate antifreeze in order to put a stop to early freezing at an early stage.
By the way, contact with a specialist company makes sense, even if it has not yet done much damage. Depending on how the pipes run in the house, it may be worth installing an electrically operated pipe heating system. In addition, the professional informs you in which areas it would be advisable to use water detectors. These aids warn in the case of leaking fluid with loud signals.
If you decide to hire a specialist, you should also contact the responsible insurance company at the same time. For damage to the inventory (furniture, carpets, curtains, etc.) this is the household s insurance . If, on the other hand, it is damage to parts of the building or permanently installed objects such as fitted kitchens or heating systems, contact the homeowners insurance .
Tip: If a water pipe damage occurs in your rented apartment, first of all inform your landlord. He is obliged to correct the defect professionally. Accordingly, he himself hires a professional to thaw the frozen wire. In addition, according to § 536 BGB, you are entitled to a reduction of the rent for the period in which the damage occurred.
In addition, inexperienced do-it-yourselfers are strongly discouraged from thawing the water pipe electrically. In addition to the risk of fire mentioned above, this has another cause: If the thawing works are accompanied by electrical power with consequential damage, the insurance company usually does not regulate this due to the charge of gross negligence. Incorrectly performed activities release insurance companies completely from their obligation to pay.
If a water pipe is frozen, it requires a lot of experience and competence to thaw it. The water-bearing pipe must be carefully warmed up with the correct measures. A wrong procedure may cause additional damage. For this reason, the commissioning of a specialist is generally recommended!
Tips for quick readers
- Consistent heating is used for frost prevention and thawing
- Self-defrosting recommended only to experienced home improvement
- Turn off the main tap and open the tap of the blocked line
- Tools: hair dryer, hot air blower, warm towels or heating tapes
- Never use open flame to heat the pipe
- From the open tap, work toward the blocked point
- Turn on the main tap again and check the pipe breakage
- In case of doubt prefer to hire a specialist from the beginning
- Meaningful repair and preventive measures by the installer
- When renting apartments first of all the landlord say