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Home Safety

Frozen Pipe Safety

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02/01/2007 - Recently, the Casper Fire EMS Department responded for a structure fire caused by a resident attempting to thaw a frozen pipe. As the temperatures dip, CFEMS would like to share tips with residents to safely get water flowing again should they find themselves with frozen pipes.

First and foremost, never use any device which produces an open flame to thaw pipes. This includes lighters, torches, propane heaters, and barbeque grills. Any of these devices used in close proximity to building materials can cause a fire. It is also important to note that it may not be obvious at the time the pipe is being defrosted, that a fire has started. Materials can smolder and a fire can occur some time afterward and may go undetected if unattended or in a concealed space.

Safe methods of defrosting include the use of a blow dryer or a heating pad on the affected area of the pipe. An electric space heater may also be effective if used in accordance with all safety instructions provided with the appliance. As you are thawing the pipe, open a faucet downstream and the action flowing water, even a trickle may help restore regular flow in the pipe. The action of some flow may be enough to restore flow over a period of time without the assistance of any heating devices.

It is important to note that with the use of any electric device, caution must be exercised if the area is wet or may become wet. Electrical shock could occur should any of these devices come into contact with water.

When in doubt, contact a licensed plumber to assist you in restoring flow in a frozen pipe. They will be able to safely remedy the problem and make any necessary repairs in the case of damage to the water pipes. For any additional questions, residents can contact the CFEMS Fire Prevention Bureau at 235-8222.

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