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Red Cross urges people to thaw frozen water pipes the right way

How to safely defrost your frozen water pipes

If your pipes should freeze, would you know how to defrost them the safe way?

One Northampton County couple said their home caught fire when a plumber went about it the wrong way, using a torch and a heater, but the couple wouldn't go into more detail because of possible litigation.

Firefighters responded to the home on Ahern Drive in Upper Mount Bethel Township on Tuesday.

For the last week, R.J. Walker Plumbing Supply has been selling a lot of material to plumbers fixing frozen pipes, said Luis Acevado, the branch manager.

"We've been getting plumbers throughout the day, especially in the morning," said Acevado. "Many of them coming in looking for fittings and pipe. A lot of frozen pipe out there."

There are preventative measures homeowners can take, like wrapping pipes, but if the pipe does freeze, the American Red Cross has a few tips:

Apply heat to the frozen pipe using an electric heating pad, a hair dryer, a portable space heater, or towels soaked in hot water.

Do not try to correct the problem with a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater. Also don't use a charcoal stove or any other open-flame device.

Another item flying off the shelves is a pipe warming system.

"You want this before it freezes," added Acevado.

If the tips provided by the Red Cross don't work, you should call a plumber to help with other options, and of course make sure that plumber is sticking to the safety tips.

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Allentown, PA 18102


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