Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes from ND Rural Water

By | 11/14/2015

1. Determine the location of the frozen pipe. This can be done by touching or by running your hand along
accessible water pipes in the home while feeling for extremely cold spots. If a cold portion of pipe is
encountered; thaw it gently, preferably using a hair dryer. DO NOT use a propane torch, as it could
cause a rupture of the water line.
2. If you suspect the water line is about to freeze, check the temperature of the water. Do this at the
location of where the water enters the home. If the temperature is close to freezing, run a substantial
amount of water until the temperature increases. This could take some time. Showering and washing
extra loads of laundry will put the extra water to good use.
3. If you choose to leave the water in the home trickling, be careful! Leaving the water running at a
trickle can help prevent frozen water service lines. However, trickling water can sometimes lead to
frozen sewer service lines. In the past, water and sewer lines were installed in close proximity of each
other and often at the same depth. Trickling water in a sewer line can cool to the point of freezing if
the sewer line is cold. This could lead to the sewer service freezing shut and causing a sewer backup.
4. If you chose to run the water at a trickle, it is advised to periodically turn the flow of water up to about
a garden hose size stream for several minutes. The increased flow of water allows for a better
exchange of heat between the water and water service line/ground and also allows the water to assist
in heating the sewer system.
5. If the consumer having a freezing water issue is on a septic system, trickling water should be diverted
away from the septic system. Septic systems have a limited capability to accept excess water in deep
frost conditions. The trickling water could compromise the on-site septic system, leaving the customer
with more problems and expense. If possible, use a hose to run the trickling water to an outside,
acceptable area.
6. Electrically heating of water lines, using a welder, only works on metallic lines. It will not work if there
is any plastic or pvc piping in the service line. Care should be taken, if using a welder, as they have
been known to start fires in adjacent structures. It has also been found that the use of welders can
increase the speed at which cast iron or ductile iron lines corrode.
7. If the water service line does become frozen advise the customer to open one or two faucets. This will
allow the ice to have room to expand without damaging any other piping.
8. There are companies throughout the state that have the ability to thaw frozen services with a recirculating
thawing unit. If there is no one that offers this service in your area and you would like
assistance, please contact us at 1-800-349-6951. We will guide you through the processes of
constructing a thawing unit and its operation.

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