Thawing a frozen water pipe quickly is important. However, it is just as important to thaw the frozen pipe correctly. Here are seven tips to follow to help you get the water flowing and to help you avoid a burst pipe and potentially damaging flood at your property.
Tip 1: Locate the Frozen Pipe
In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you must first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. Turn on the faucets in your property.
If no water comes out, or only a slight trickle escapes, then a pipe leading to the faucet is likely frozen. If one pipe is frozen, there is a chance others have frozen also.
If the pipes are exposed, such as pipes under sinks, in basements or along the exterior of the house, you may be able to see the frozen portion of the pipe. Frozen pipes often have frost on them or may have a slight bulge. If the blockage is located in part of the pipe that you have access to, you will have more options for easily thawing the pipe than if the frozen portion is enclosed behind a wall.
Tip 2: Open the Faucet
Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you will want to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. Make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This will help to relieve pressure in the system and will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe.
Tip 3: Where to Begin the Thawing Process
You should always begin the thawing process near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage.
This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst.
Tip 4: Thawing Exposed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area you can easily access, you have several options for attempting to thaw the pipe.
You should continue to apply the heat until the water escaping from the faucet returns to full strength. Here are four options for thawing an exposed pipe.
Tip 5: Thawing Enclosed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area that you cannot easily access, you have three options for thawing the pipe.
Tip 6: Things to Avoid
Never attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame, such as a propane torch. This can not only damage the pipe, it can also start a fire in your property.
Tip 7: If the Pipe Bursts
If a frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. You should know where the shut-off valves are for each of your properties and for each unit. There are usually smaller shut-off valves located near sinks and toilets, but the main shut-off valve is often located near the water meter.
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Risks of Thawing a Frozen Pipe
There are two main risks you should be aware of when attempting to thaw a frozen water pipe.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
There are steps you can take to help prevent your pipes from freezing in the future. This includes: