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How to Unfreeze Your Pipes

Since we’re in the thick of winter, it’s not uncommon to endup with a frozen pipe. There are preventative measures you can take to try tokeep your pipes from freezing, but it’s not always a guarantee. We’ll sharewith you a couple tips to thaw a frozen pipe if you ever encounter one.

Locating the frozenpipe

The first step in thawing a frozen pipe is to identify whichpipe is frozen. Go to each faucet in your home and turn it on. If very littlewater or no water comes out of one of them, you may have a frozen pipe on yourhands.

If the frozen pipes are exposed, you should be able to seewhere they have frozen water in the pipe. Typically, frozen pipes have frost onthem, or you may see a slight bulge. You have more options for thawing anexposed pipe than one that’s hidden behind a wall.

Open the faucet

Our first tip is to open the faucet that the pipe feedswater to. Do this by opening both the hot and cold handles all the way. Thiswill help relieve some of the pressure built up in the system and allow waterto escape once the pipe begins to thaw.

Starting the thawing process

Always start the thawing process near the faucet and slowlywork your way towards the blockage. You do this to ensure that water and steamcan escape out of the faucet. If you try to start behind the blockage, you mayincrease the pressure within the pipe and risk it bursting.

Thawing the pipes

If the pipe is easily accessible, then you have severaloptions for attempting to thaw the pipe. The key to each of these options is tocontinue applying the heat until the faucet returns to full strength to ensurethe blockage is out of the pipe. Here are our four favorite methods.

  1. Heat lamp/space heater – this method involvespositioning a heat lamp or space heater directly towards the frozen pipe. Thecontinuous heat should allow the pipe to quickly thaw. Be sure you comply withthe manual of these devices and keep them away from interacting directly withwater.
  • Hair dryer – This is probably the easiest way tothaw a frozen pipe. All you do is turn the dryer on to the heat setting andpoint it at the pipe; you should begin with the portion closest to the faucet.Remember to take the proper precautions while performing this action and avoidall contact with water.
  • Hot towel – A very simple way to unthaw the pipeis to dip a towel in hot water and wrap the area that’s frozen. It’s a slowerprocess but could still be effective.
  • Electrical heating tape – Our last suggestion isto apply electrical heating tape to the blockage. The tape will distribute heatthroughout the pipe. You can plug in and unplug the tape as needed, or you canfind tape that automatically turns off/on for you. You can purchase heatingtape at your local home improvement store.

Seek professional help

If you’re not up to the task, are unable to thaw the pipe, unable to find the pipe or are dealing with a burst pipe, calling the professionals is always a good move. MoreVent employs trained plumbers that are available at a moment’s notice. If you have any questions or concerns, call us at (610) 444-3333 or schedule an appointment online.