When temperatures get below 20 degrees you should flush your toilets and run hot water through your pipes every 4 hours. When it’s extremely cold let cold water slowly drip from faucets served by exposed pipes and pipes particularly close to the foundation.
The lines going to your toilets are more susceptible because they have only cold water running through them. The lower the temperature the more crucial it is to flush toilets regularly. If the toilet sounds irregular or makes a crackling sound while filling up the tank or tank and bowl, or is slow to fill, you have a problem. It’s important to remedy it quickly.
Identify the line in the basement. You can often pin point exactly where it’s frozen because it will be colder to the touch.
Set up a space heater and aim it directly at the frozen area of the line for at least an hour, or until tank and bowl fills at the normal rate. With old style heaters, be careful of a potential fire hazard. Give the space heater space. Do not have flammable materials within several feet of the heater and be certain it’s standing or balanced securely.
Check for drafts. You may find a draft that is aimed directly at the line. These lines are often very close to the foundation. You can identify the draft by simply using your hand or a candle.
Cover up the drafty area. This can be a quick fix by adhering plastic or even a towel over the draft, or you could use caulk or spackle from the inside. Just stop that draft from aiming at your pipe. Suring up drafty areas from the outside and inside is ideal, but at least tackle the problem from the inside for now.
If it’s too late and your pipe has burst, shut off the main water supply, crank up the heat and call a plumber. We’re here if you need us for clean up afterward. We’ll clean up all water, leave fans and dehumidifiers behind until it’s thoroughly dry and be sure your water problem doesn’t turn into a mold problem.