Winter is in full swing, and with that, pipes in homes across the country are freezing. And while many resort to unconventional tactics, firefighters warn that these tactics might result in a fire that could cost you your home and the lives within it.
On Monday, firefighters in Cedar Rapids responded to reports of a small fire that was allegedly caused by an individual using an electric heat gun in order to thaw out a frozen pipe.
During the winter, plummeting temperatures can cause residential pipes to freeze, resulting in burst or cracked pipes. And according to statistics, even a crack as small as three millimeters can result in the loss of 250 gallons of water per day and can negatively affect water pressure, resulting in potentially serious damage.
There are many ways to remedy frozen pipes, such as letting faucets trickle on extremely cold nights, insulating your pipes, and keeping cupboards open where pipes are located. However, tactics such as blowtorches, kerosene, charcoal stoves, or other open-flame devices are not recommended.
According to bringmethenews.com, a crew of 19 fire fighters in Duluth, MI, spent two hours battling a fire that was caused by “improper thawing of frozen pipes.” Overall, the blaze cost a whopping $37,000 in residential damage.
The fire started in the upstairs bathroom, then continued to extend to the attic and exterior of the home. When firefighters arrived, two people and two dogs were trapped inside of the blaze but were successfully evacuated.
If you experience frozen pipes, try any of the methods above. Or better yet, maybe you should call your plumber instead.
“When we (plumbers) do it, safety is number one. We use a fire extinguisher plus put a heat shield behind the frozen pipe to stop the heat from going to the insulation, plywood or whatever is back there,” said plumber Ron Valenta in an interview with KCRG TV9 in Iowa.