4 Tips for Thawing Your Frozen Plumbing Pipes

August 23, 2023


Sure, winter has its perks, such as snow-covered mountains and stylish snowmen. But extremely cold temperatures can also be damaging to your home’s plumbing pipes. A frozen water pipe can burst and possibly cause extensive water damage.

How to Spot a Frozen Pipe

If a faucet is only giving you a slight trickle, then the pipe is most likely frozen. Even if you’re only having issues with one faucet, it is still highly likely that multiple pipes are frozen. The pipes most likely to be frozen are those that are exposed, such as pipes in your basement or pipes that run along the exterior of your home.

Another sign of a frozen pipe is frost or a slight bulge. On the bright side, pipes that are exposed are typically easier to thaw since they are easily accessible and not enclosed behind a wall.

Here are a few tips for thawing frozen plumbing pipes.

  • Open both hot and cold handles before thawing the pipe. Opening both hot and cold handles will help relieve pressure in the plumbing system and help water start flowing once you begin thawing the frozen pipe.

  • Begin thawing near the faucet and slowly move towards the blockage. This one’s common sense. Starting near the faucet will help prevent a buildup of pressure and allow melting ice and steam to flow through the open faucet.

  • Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, portable space heater, hot towel, or electrical heating tape to thaw exposed pipes.

You’ve got a few options for thawing your pipes:

  • Hair dryer. It may look silly, but it gets the job done.

  • Heat lamp. Point the heat lamp in the direction of the faucet and be sure to keep it away from water.

  • Portable space heater. This is another simple and safe option.

  • Hot towels. Heat up towels by dipping them in hot water and place them on and around the frozen pipe.

  • Electrical heating tape. Consider this a more high-tech, yet still effective, option.

Place an infrared lamp near the wall with the frozen pipe.

If you know where exactly the frozen pipe is located, you can use an infrared lamp to thaw the blockage. You can also turn up the temperature on the thermostat. As a last resort you can also cut out a section of the drywall to access the frozen pipe.

Frozen pipes are serious business. If the above options don’t thaw the water blockage, reach out to Hamilton Plumbing Heating A/C Rooter for timely and efficient plumbing service.

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Last Updated: May 31, 2024