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How To Thaw Frozen Pipes

Updated on September 4, 2011

Frozen water pipes are a homeowners nightmare. They can be costly if they are allowed to burst. There are many ways to prevent water pipes from freezing, some expensive but are well worth the effort. There is nothing worse than waking up on a cold Winter morning and learning that your water pipes are frozen or broke.

I remember growing up and having this happen. Back then we would take a small propane torch and run it along the pipe until the water starting flowing again. Luckily time and technology have came up with ways to help with this. These days there are safer ways to thaw out frozen water pipes. And the chance of them breaking or bursting has been lowered with the use of CPVC piping.

Water Pipes, Water Heater,
Water Pipes, Water Heater,

Safe Ways to Thaw That Pipe

There are ways to thaw out frozen water pipes. The incorrect ways include using an open flame, torches, or heaters that use gas. Open flames and torches are fire hazards and may cause the pipe to burst since your heating the water to boiling point. The issue with gas or propane heaters is carbon monoxide. Too much of the Carbon monoxide and you go to sleep never to awake.

Frozen pipes are really common in places that do not normally get temperatures below freezing. This is because areas that tend to be cold are prepared and have insulated pipes. If your pipes are frozen the best way to thaw them out is by turning the cold water on. You may ask how this is going to give you water.

Even if there is only a trickle of water coming out of the tap then you have water moving. Remember that the water entering the pipe is not freezing so it will eventually work at and destroy all frozen water. When you have full flow of water coming out of the faucet then your pipes are clear of ice.

What happens if there is no water dripping out of the faucet. This is where a heat blanket or tape will come in handy. By wrapping the pipe with a heat source you will slowly work at the ice. Next thing you know you have water moving again. Always open the cold water taps (all of them) in the house. After the pipes are completely thawed and you have full flow you can shut them. You may even want to leave a dripping tap that way it will help prevent frozen pipes again.

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If you can not locate the frozen pipe

Sometimes knowing what pipe is frozen is very difficult. You really want to avoid having to apply heat or flame to any pipe because there is no water flowing and now matter what you have tried you still have no water. This is where a certified plumber will come in handy. Maybe you have a family member who happens to be one. This will save you some money. But if you do not use the yellow pages to find a reputable plumber and one that will work with you just in case you have no money.

If you are a renter and not the homeowner then call the landlord as soon as possible. This is their problem when it costs. In the end you will have water, but you will need patience and a bit of help if necessary. Then thing to remember is that frozen water pipes can be a learning experience. Good Luck!


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