If you have found yourself chopping ice from drains lately, you are not alone. Brainerd is no exception as employees from the Street and Sewer Department found themselves having to chop ice away from storm drains to avoid even bigger problems.
Frozen storm drains are among many issues that are occurring throughout the Twin Cities in regards to frozen drains.
Individuals and business owners have had to deal with frozen drain pipes in addition to other frozen pipe issues. For instance, it may not seem as if it would be so easy for a PVC drain pipe from a kitchen sink to freeze, but it can. Even hot water for the sink or a connected dishwasher is not going to keep the pipe from freezing, especially when it runs along an outside wall.
This is a very sensitive pipe issue because of the potential for the pipe to burst. It is not like when there is a clog and you may be able to snake the pipe on your own. If you do try to snake the pipe, you will find that the blockage is hard, making it obvious that it is not food, hair, or a grease clog.
It is also important to understand that doing something, such as pouring hot salt water down the drain or placing a space heater under the kitchen sink cabinet will not necessarily work. The space heater idea may work better on copper pipes than PVC, but many homes are now outfitted with PVC.
As for when you can tell that your drain is frozen, water is not going to drain the way that it should. You’ll have standing water or the water will drain very slow before the drain completely freezes up. You can try heating the pipe from the outside, but doing something such as using a heater or another heat source on the outer walls of the structure can be very dangerous, which is why it is important to call a professional to deal with heating and securing the drain pipe. In some cases, however, the pipe bursts before anyone realizes that there is a problem. When that’s the case, burst drain pipe repair is needed immediately.
Once the pipe is repaired, measures can be taken to ensure it does not freeze again so you don’t have a repeat of that particular issue. This can involve wrapping the pipe in heat tape, insulating it well, or using a method that is appropriate for that pipe.