February 21, 2019

How to Unfreeze Your Pipes

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

Locating the frozen pipe

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

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

Open the faucet

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

Starting the thawing process

Always start the thawing process near the faucet and slowly work your way towards the blockage. You do this to ensure that water and steam can escape out of the faucet. If you try to start behind the blockage, you may increase the pressure within the pipe and risk it bursting.

Thawing the pipes

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

  1. Heat lamp/space heater – this method involves positioning a heat lamp or space heater directly towards the frozen pipe. The continuous heat should allow the pipe to quickly thaw. Be sure you comply with the manual of these devices and keep them away from interacting directly with water.
  • Hair dryer – This is probably the easiest way to thaw a frozen pipe. All you do is turn the dryer on to the heat setting and point 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 avoid all contact with water.
  • Hot towel – A very simple way to unthaw the pipe is to dip a towel in hot water and wrap the area that’s frozen. It’s a slower process but could still be effective.
  • Electrical heating tape – Our last suggestion is to apply electrical heating tape to the blockage. The tape will distribute heat throughout the pipe. You can plug in and unplug the tape as needed, or you can find tape that automatically turns off/on for you. You can purchase heating tape 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 1-610-257-7702 or schedule an appointment online.

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