A Guide to Thawing Your Frozen Pipes This Winter
If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, you already know that occasional frozen pipes can occur even when you have done your best to prevent it. That means you will either need to call in an emergency plumber or spend some time thawing the plumbing yourself. If you are a multi-tasker and you don't mind hanging near the frozen pipes while you dry your hair, you really could do them both at once. But it probably isn't the most practical solution. Try these steps for thawing your frozen pipes instead.
How to Thaw your Frozen Pipes
- Open the faucets. This will allow water to flow through the pipe once the ice in the pipes begins to melt. The flowing water will help melt and remove the remaining ice.
- Locate the frozen area. Check all your faucets to narrow down the location of the frozen pipe and follow the pipe back to the water sources. Pipes tend to freeze along outside walls, near the main water source or in unheated crawl spaces. The pipe may have frost or condensation near the frozen area. It will also likely feel colder to the touch than the rest of your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors. This will allow heat to circulate the pipes and is especially important if your pipes have frozen under the sink.
- Apply heat to the frozen area. You can use a hairdryer, heat gun or a portable heater to warm the area and thaw the pipe. Avoid blow torches or other appliances with open flames. These pose a danger of fire and may melt your pipes if you have PVC plumbing.
- Continue until full water pressure returns in all your pipes. If you withdraw heat too quickly, the pipes may refreeze.
- Insulate or seal areas where cold air comes into your home. Your plumber can make recommendations for any plumbing changes you may need to prevent freezing pipes or similar issues in the future.
- Call a plumber. If you cannot locate the frozen area or cannot thaw the pipes on your own, do not wait to see if they will thaw on their own. This may make the situation worse as the frozen section may get larger, or the pipes may burst. Call in an emergency plumber to take care of the problem for you.
If you live in the Chicago area and need help thawing your pipes, or have another plumbing emergency, contact us right away. Our experts at John Baethke & Son Plumbing provide 24-hour emergency plumbing services. We can also repair or replace the water line to your home if it has been damaged from freezing.