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How to Thaw Frozen Pipes


During cold weather, pipes in your walls, attic or under your floor can freeze. Frozen pipes can crack or burst because as water freezes. It expands, with enough expansion, pipes will develop cracks. These cracks may not be visible but they will leak nonetheless when the ice melts.

Locate the Frozen Pipe

The first step to thaw frozen pipes is to locate the section of pipe and turn off the local water supply to it. To determine whether a section of pipe is frozen, you simply need to feel it. A frozen pipe will feel cold, while a free flowing water pipe will feel water.

Thawing Plastic Pipes

Accessible pipes can be heated with a hair dryer. Keep the dryer moving and do not focus it on any one place for too long.

How wet rags can be used to hear pipes. Simply immerse a rag in hot water and wrap it around the pipe. Replace the rag when it cools.

A grounded, water resistant heating pad can be wrapped around the pipe and set to the lowest heating setting.

Thawing Metal Pipes

While a flame can be used to heat accessible copper or steel pipes, is in nor recommended as this increases the risk of damage to the pipe as well as presenting a fire risk. Never hear the pipe any warmer than you can comfortably hold.

Accessible pipes can be heated with a hair dryer. Keep the dryer moving and do not focus it on any one place for too long.

Hot wet rags can be used to heat pipes. Simply immerse the rag in hot water and wrap it around the pipe. If you are able to catch water from under the pipe, you can go a step further by pouring hot water over the rags.

Thawing Inaccessible pipes

Frozen water pipes located in inaccessible locations can be warmed by raising the ambient temperature. In cases where the pipe is located in an exterior facing wall, open cabinets to allow warm interior air to warm the cabinet and wall. Raising the indoor temperature will increase the direct application of heat where the pipes run will speed the process even more.

You may place a heat lamp or portable heater facing the wall to warm it.

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