Safely thaw a frozen pipe

Safely thaw a frozen pipe

 

Even if you’ve taken precautions to prevent your pipes from freezing, it can still happen during bitter cold nights.  Frozen pipes, if they burst, can lead to flooding and water damage which can be extremely expensive.  If your pipes do freeze, you want to thaw them as soon as possible.  You can attempt to do this yourself, using the steps outlined below.

  1. Locate the main water shut-off valve, so that you know how to quickly turn off your water in the event of leaks.
  2. Turn on your cold water faucet and then turn on your hot water faucet. If your cold water has frozen but water comes out of your hot water pipe, let the hot water run for 20 minutes.  Sometimes this can help to thaw a frozen cold water pipe.
  3. If that doesn’t work or your hot water pipe is frozen, use a hair dryer set on high heat. Hold the hair dryer a few inches away from the section of pipe that is frozen for a few minutes.  If you can’t see the section of pipe because it’s within the wall, aim your hair dryer as close to the frozen section within the wall as possible.  Please note that thawing a pipe within a wall takes longer – perhaps 45 minutes to an hour.
  4. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to call a plumber to avoid burst pipes and resulting water damage.
  5. Remember to never use an open flame to thaw a pipe. Some articles may tell you to use a torch.  Don’t.  Torches or anything with an open flame can damage your pipes.

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