Updating Your HVAC Unit

How To Thaw Frozen Plumbing

When water sits in your pipes in the winter, it can freeze, which can be a serious problem. Ice expands when it melts, so if your pipes freeze, they can burst if left to thaw on their own. If your pipes are frozen, you can thaw them yourself to ensure that they do not cause damage to your plumbing in the summer months. Thankfully, this process is fairly simple, and does not take very long with the right tools and knowledge.

Before You Begin

Before you thaw your plumbing, you'll have to locate the frozen pipe. Pipes against exterior walls or uninsulated areas tend to freeze more often. Feel along the pipe – any sections that feel colder than the rest of your plumbing are most likely frozen. Ensure that the pipes aren't damaged, and turn off the main water valve to your home. Then, turn on all the faucets connected to the frozen pipe to let the water flow out.

Using Towels

If the freezing in your pipes is fairly new and not very dense, simply wrapping the pipe in warm towels can be enough to thaw through the blockage. If you have unblocked hot water faucets in your home, you can soak the towels in hot water, but if your entire plumbing system is frozen, you can put towels in the dryer and let them heat up for fifteen minutes before wrapping them around the pipes.

Using a Hair Dryer

If the towels prove to be inadequate, you can use a hair dryer to target specific sections of the pipe. Start at the frozen section of the pipe closest to the faucet, so that the runoff can flow out of the pipes as it melts, reducing the pressure on your plumbing.

Using a Space Heater

If both towels and the hair dryer do not produce enough heat to adequately thaw your plumbing, you can place a space heater near the frozen section of pipe to melt the ice in your pipes. Take care that there are no obstructions around the space heater, and place it roughly two feet away from the pipe in question to reduce the risk of a fire. Leave the heater on for two hours, allowing the ice to melt, and then turn the water back on. If the flow out of your faucet is still below normal, leave the heater on for another hour to finish melting the ice. Contact your local plumber in Middlesex County, NJ for more information.