Plumbing Frozen Pipes
Home-Wizard™ calculates your ideal home care program to avoid problems with your Plumbing, but sometimes trouble can still occur. Here are answers to questions about plumbing frozen pipes.
QUESTION FROM Roger
Are garbage disposal is out and we can't afford to replace it right now.The problem is everytime I use the dishwasher I have a build-up of water in both sides of the sink and I have to take a pan to empty it.It has been extremely cold here lately are the pipes frozen or should I pour some Drano down.
ANSWER FROM HOME-WIZARD
If I understand you correctly, it has been really cold, and now the pipes below your sink appear to be blocked and water backflows into your sink when your run your dishwasher, right?
Is your sink and dishwasher located on an exterior wall of your house? In other words, is the wall that has your sink and dishwasher exposed to the cold on the outside?
If this is the case, then your pipes may have frozen inside the wall, and this is what is causing your backflow problem. What I would suggest that you do IMMEDIATELY (to help keep your pipes from bursting) is:
1) Open up the cabinets below your sink and open your dishwasher.
2) Place a fan in from of both your open sink cabinets and dishwasher to circulate warm air from the room into these areas.
3) If you have a hair dryer, use it to warm up the back wall of your under-sink cabinet and dishwasher. DO NOT use anything hotter than this. And absolutely DO NOT use a torch, propane heater, etc to speed up the process.
If this gets your sink and dishwasher drains flowing, then there are two things that you still have to do:
1) You need to inspect to see that your pipes did not crack. Otherwise, now that the pipes would be unfrozen, if they have cracked then water can leak inside you walls.
2) You need to improve the insulation of this exterior wall and add air vents to the the cabinetry to allow warm air from the room to circulate into this area. Since it sounds like you have some budget constraints (like many, many of us do right now!), then you may want to leave your under-sink cabinet doors open when it is cold outside, and then add a fan in front of the open doors when it gets really cold.
If this doesn't work, then yes, you can try DRANO. But be sure to read the package, and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS COMPLETELY, otherwise it can be dangerous.
Hope this is helpful.