4 Signs That Point to a Frozen Pipe in the Home (And How to Fix It)

Posted on: 22 January 2019

For any homeowner, the thought of a frozen pipe can be scary. If undetected, frozen pipes can cause extensive damage to your plumbing system and to your home in general. For example, the ice inside a frozen pipe can expand and rupture the pipe itself. Even worse, leaking water can enter the home and cause water damage, the growth of mould/mildew, and costly pipe damage. You can prevent much of these risks by paying attention to your plumbing system.

Here are 4 common signs that point to a frozen pipe in the home, accompanied by some common fixes.

1. Outside temperatures are below zero

In most cases, if the outside air temperature is below zero degrees Celsius (the freezing point of water), narrow pipes will likely freeze. This is especially true for exposed pipes and pipes that run along an outside wall in your home.

How can you fix this problem? Consider insulating the pipes (along exposed areas) so that they're less likely to freeze. A plumber can recommend and install quality insulating materials capable of withstanding freezing temperatures. 

2. No water flows out of the faucet

The most obvious sign of a frozen pipe is water not coming out of the faucet. If you open one faucet and it's dry, check all the other faucets in your home to determine which pipes are frozen.

You can prevent this complication from happening by keeping your taps at a slow drip when expecting cold weather. But if you're too late, you can warm up exposed areas of the affected pipe by using a space heater. This simple trick can help thaw blocked sections of your pipe and restore the flow of water.

3. Poor drainage near the affected area

Another sign of a frozen pipe is poor drainage near the affected area. While you may still have water coming out of the faucet, the drainage pipe underneath may be frozen. You will notice this by experiencing a slow drain or seeing a block of ice underneath your drains.

A fully blocked drain can be a plumbing emergency, so you should contact an emergency plumber as soon as possible.

4. Foul odours

You may also notice that specific drains in your home are emitting foul odours. These odours could indicate a frozen pipe because all wastewater flowing down the pipe is getting blocked at some point. A frozen pipe (that's emitting foul odours or otherwise) should be addressed by a plumber as soon as possible. This is because the drain can back up over time and overflow inside the home.

Call a plumbing service for additional information or assistance.