How To Avoid And Thaw Frozen Pipes From Winter Storm Grayson
Typically you don't think about frozen or broken water pipes until it happens (like me just two days ago) but unless you'd like it to start raining inside your house in the middle of Winter Storm Grayson's cold snap, follow these tips...
If you suspect your pipes have already frozen, scroll down for the solution. Sidebar: my son's name is Grayson and it's odd to hear the name of such a sweet little boy be attached to an extremely undesirable storm. He could probably thaw your pipes with his smile, but anyway...
1) Heat the areas where the pipes run
In my house we have a separate furnace in the basement to keep it warm down there, but something as simple as just keeping heat flowing through the house by keeping all of the internal doors cracked open is enough
2) Don't close the faucets
Just letting them drip a little could be enough to keep them from freezing by keeping the water moving but if they do freeze, keep the faucets open still so that if pressure builds it will release instead of bursting the pipe
3) Add heating tape/insulation
Check you pipes for insulation or electrical heat tape and line them with it if they're not already.
IF YOUR PIPES HAVE ALREADY FROZEN, HERE'S THE SOLUTION
If simply just turning the heat up in your house doesn't work after awhile, try locating the area of the pipe that is frozen (if it's in the open) which will stand out by either being frosted over or sporting a slight bulge or both. Open both the hot and cold water valves on the faucet so that additional pressure doesn't build and STARTING THERE grab a hair dryer, wet heated towels or electrical heating tape if you have it and from the faucet on down apply until you reach the affected portion of pipe.
You can also try throwing a space heater or heat lamp near the affected areas to indirectly thaw them, but be careful about leaving these unattended. Better to have flood damage than to lose your entire house or worse to fire.
But what if they DO burst??
You should probably locate the water shutoff to your house (near the water meter), because if your pipes do burst that is the single most effective way to minimize the damage to your home.