Unfreezing your plumbing pipes

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We all know that there are simple plumbing jobs which can be done by the layman, such as faucet tightening, shower head repair, and un-plugging the commode. But actually, even more complicated jobs can be done by a homeowner, without having to pay out those expensive plumbing bills. 

A frozen water pipe can be melted with a propane torch. The torch should only be used if the pipe is exposed and not near a joist (which can be a fire hazard). Also, you must never hold the torch too long in the same place under the pipes, because it can cause them to burst if the water boils. First, open all faucets served by the frozen pipe, moving  the torch or heat lamp (for joist pipes, as it is not flammable) until the blockage is relieved, remembering again not to keep the torch under any section of the pipe too long for fear of increased water pressure.

If you are unable to flush your toilet becuase of frozen drains, pour in boiling water. This also works with frozen sink pipes. To prevent freezing, mix a half kerosene, half antifreeze concotion, and send it down the sink or commode before winter storms arrive. Usually two quarts of this will work for toilet and two pints in sink drains.

Coat cracked water pipes with retort cement and wrap plastic aerotube pipe insulation, slit lengthwise around the pipe, securing this with hose clamps.