How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

What to Do if Pipes Freeze & How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes are one of the most irritating cold-weather ailments. But what causes them? When temperatures drop, water can freeze in plastic pipes. This causes the plastic to expand and pressurize. Frozen pipes can block water flow and can cause flooding. It is important that homeowners are aware of what to do when pipes freeze.

What to do when a pipe bursts

You must act quickly to prevent further damage from occurring if a pipe bursts inside your home. Turn off the water as soon as you can. This will reduce the water seeping out of your walls. It may be necessary to turn off the power supply in the affected areas of your house. Once you have taken these precautionary measures, it is time to call a plumber to clean up the mess. To avoid mold and mildew growth, remove as much water as possible. You may need to call in additional professionals depending on the severity and extent of your case to remove water and lingering moisture.

How to freeze pipes

How do you know if your pipes have frozen? If the water is not flowing freely from the kitchen or bathroom faucets, it could be a sign that the water has frozen. But don’t panic. You might be better equipped than you realize to handle the situation. Here are some tips to help you thaw frozen pipes.

Step 1. Turn on the faucet

It should be kept running. A faucet that drips even slightly can prevent a pipe bursting. It is simple: when freezing occurs, extreme pressure builds up between the faucet’s ice blockage and the faucet. This pressure buildup can be relieved by an open faucet, which will prevent a burst from happening.

Step 2. Apply heat to the frozen region

Apply heat slowly using a hair dryer. This can be done in a variety of ways. Wrap the pipes with thermostatically controlled heat tape or use an external heat source like a space heater or hair dryer. You should not use a propane torch to damage the pipes or create a fire hazard.

Use a hair dryer if you choose to use it. Start by directing the air near the pipe’s faucet end and then move to the coldest part. You should not heat the hair dryer too much or blow a fuse. The faucet should not be turned on while heat is applied.

Step 3. Continue to heat

Keep heating the water until it reaches full pressure. It’s a good idea not to close the faucet for more than a few minutes once the pipe has thawed. This will allow the ice to drain completely from the line.

Step 4. Check all faucets and prevent pipes from freezing in the future

You should check each faucet for frozen pipes. One frozen pipe could indicate that other pipes have been affected.

Contact a plumber if the problem continues. These are some simple steps to prevent your pipes from freezing again.

  • Keep your home’s temperature at least 0°C and shut off the water supply to prevent freezing.
  • Make sure all water pipes are insulated with heating cable or foam rubber, especially those near outside walls.
  • To allow air to circulate, keep cabinet doors open.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water. It is difficult for pipes to freeze, even though there is water running through them. You can save water by collecting the water drops and reusing it for cleaning up or watering plants.

How long does it take for pipes not to freeze?

Any of the few methods that can be used to melt frozen pipes should take no more than 30 minutes. It will vary depending on how long the pipe has been frozen, the location of the pipe and the weather. 2 This can make the thawing process take longer depending on how long it has been frozen and where it is located.

Remember that a frozen pipe doesn’t necessarily mean your home is unsafe. Learn more ways to protect your home in the winter.

Protect your home

Protect your home from the unexpected. Get a free homeowners insurance quote. Learn more about Nationwide’s smart home insurance program. This innovative program will keep your home free from fire, water damage, and break-ins. *

Information provided is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice in legal, tax, financial, or other areas. It may not be applicable to your particular situation. Although we have made every effort to ensure that the information is correct, it may be incomplete or out of date. It is the responsibility of the reader to follow all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, its affiliates, and their employees do not make any warranties or guarantee the results. They also assume no responsibility for the information. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is your partner. The Nationwide N, Eagle and Nationwide N are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. (c) 2021 Nationwide.

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