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Question:

Is it necessary to change old plumbing pipes to copper pipes and why?

Is it necessary to change old plumbing pipes to copper pipes and why?

Answer:

It really depends where it's freezing. A hairdrier is probably the best solution to un-freeze it because you (hopefully) are holding it so you know if it's overheating something. Do try to use a GFCI outlet (most garage outlets are) in case the pipe ruptures, you don't want to be electricuted either. Plumbers have special equipment that heats copper pipe using electricity but then you'd have to hire a plumber because it's somewhat dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. I would focus on prevention. Apparently, you can get to the pipes if you're using a hairdrier already, so that makes things easier. They do make what is essentially a electric blanket designed for pipes, it wraps around the pipe and turns itself on below a certain temperature to keep the pipes slightly warm. This would save energy over leaving it drip, but may be hard if you can't access all of the pipe to install it. If you don't like that solution, you can heat the garage with a space-heater but you must take steps to prevent a fire. We have one that does very well for a room above our un-heated garage, it looks like an old-fashend radiator on wheels, with a cord coming out of it. Check Lowe's, Home Depot, and WalMart, they should have it ours has 3 settings (low, med, low+medhigh) and a thermostat. Make sure it has at least 4-6 feet of space around it so you don't overheat anything or start a fire. If your garage is carpeted, you may need to take extra steps (like setting it on cement step-stones or pavers) to prevent the carpet from overheating, refer to the owner's manual for details. The alternative is to just let the water drip and hope for the best. One note if you must use an extension cord with any type of heater, make sure it's rated high enough or you may have a fire. They sell large ones designed for power-tools and window air-conditioners which may not look that nice (usually yellow or orange) but work especially well.
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