Your house is crisscrossed with water pipes. And, this winter is not going to be charming unless you prevent them from freezing. Things might get worst, and the damage might not be just limited to the actual burst pi pipes; this also means potential damages to the walls, ceiling, and floor. Plus, the cost to repair all of these could be unthinkable.
So, you have to be cautious and understand how to thaw frozen water pipes before the damage becomes apparent.
And, now we are going to discuss this issue and talk about some effective thawing techniques today.
Frozen Pipes Symptoms: How to Find Frozen Pipes?
The hardest part is not heating the pipes to rework but finding the right spot for those awful pipes. Often, if a water pipe is adjoining a wall (especially an exterior wall) that lack proper insulation, it can be frozen.
Also, few obvious signs can indicate the frozen part of a pipe. The easiest way to tell is to turn on all the faucets in your house.
Now, three things can happen here –
In the case of option 1 above, the problem could be along the pipes running between the two. For option 2, likely place would be the main water line that enters your home. This could be either through a basement wall or in the crawlspace under the house. And, for the final option, the issue could be located closer to the faucet, e.g., under the sink.
How to Thaw Frozen Water Pipes?
There are some areas inside and outside your house where pipes are more likely to thaw than others. And, before you even make a thawing attempt, first be informed that the techniques you can use varies on the location of the frozen pipe.
Now, let’s talk about these different thawing techniques.
How to Unfreeze Water Pipes in your house: Thawing Exposed Pipes
1. Burst Pipe? Turn Off the Main Water Supply
The first thing is to find out if the frozen pipe has any cracks or leaks. If so, immediately switch off the main shut-off valve. This will help prevent a watery nightmare in your home or building as you thaw the ice. You should call a plumber to fix the pipe at this stage unless you are up to the task.
2. Allow the Faucet to Drip and Help Relief Pressure in The System
Next, you should turn all the faucets on to relieve pressure as you work. Start by turning on the lowest faucet in your home, e.g., an outdoor hose pipe. Running the water even at a trickle speeds up the thawing process since this will help melt more of the ice in the pipeline.
3. Warm up the Frozen Pipe with A Hair Dryer
To help melt ice, you need to heat up the frozen part. Use a hair dryer on its lowest setting and move it along the frozen pipe from the faucet side to the frozen area. So, when the water starts to flow, it can run out of the tap instead of building up pressure behind the clog.
Note: Do not place the dryer directly on the pipe to avoid sudden rupture and don’t heat up while standing in water to prevent electrocution. Also, never use a device with an open flame as it can end up burning the pipe or ignite the surrounding areas causing injuries.
4. Warping Heat Tape Instead
A quick solution is to apply thermostatically controlled heating tape directly on the pipe and prevent it from freezing. Just wrap it around the pipe you’d like to heat (and don’t overlap) and plug it into the wall. A thermostat controls the temperature of the tape, and you can plug it on when needed.
How To Thaw Frozen Pipes Inside A Wall or Behind Drywall
1. Raise the House Temperature
The simplest way is to warm up the area around the pipes with a space heater or turning the thermostat on at around 69 to 75 degree Fahrenheit. Although it won’t unfreeze the pipes immediately, it will aid the overall healing process.
Keep all the interior doors open throughout the house to allow warm air to circulate as close as possible to the walls.
2. Cut a Hole Into the Wall and Install a Cabinet Door
You may need to cut the wall before the pipe burst in a dismal situation. Isolate the most likely area of the problem and use a keyhole saw to cut a hole in the area. Then implement the usual thawing techniques as above. Consider installing a cabinet door over the hole for easy access next time this happens.
How To Thaw Frozen Kitchen Sink Pipes/ Drain Pipes
How To Unfreeze Water Pipes In A Mobile Home, RV Or Trailer
For this instance, the techniques are quite similar to what we have talked about so far. In fact, thawing frozen pipes is easier in a mobile home or RV for ease of access.
Let me take the steps here;
How To Thaw Frozen Pipes Underground
Unfortunately, thawing underground water pipes is never easier due to the lack of access and relatively lower temperatures than your home. That’s why we suggest calling an expert doing the daunting job. However, if you are confident to carry out a DIY, follow these steps:
Steps in Thawing Process
Frequently Asked Questions
Depending on the outside temperature, length of the frozen pipe, heating rate from the heating source, and the insulation facilities, it might range from 20 minutes to 12 hours (for uninsulated outdoor pipes). The best bet will be to warm up along the water source first.
You can save a lot, just $45 to spend on the pipes and fittings if you have experience in fastening small pipes. And, being a dodgy job, it will cost you around $200 to $500 taking a plumbing service.
Yes, frozen pipes will thaw on their own at a favorable temperature. Yet, winter is unpredictable, and it is not a good idea. Because nobody wants to spend a lot of money on water damage from a ruptured pipe.
I hope this article is helpful and can make it easier for you to thaw frozen water pipes. And, I believe you now know that it will be unpleasant to take care of your body and forget the house in winter. So you need to be mindful of avoiding any future issues.