How to Fix Frozen Pipes in the Winter
One of the worst things that can happen to a home in the wintertime is having the pipes burst. The pipes burst after being frozen because the cold water expands throughout the plumbing. The results can be messy, costly, and a pain in the neck. No homeowner wants to go through that experience.
There are plenty of measures you can take to prevent your pipes from bursting. Alternatively, you can also contact a plumber to help you with any frozen pipes. Here are six techniques to help you fix frozen pipes during the winter months:
1. Use Hot or Boiling Water
Hot water can fix frozen pipes in the winter. However, you should never, ever pour hot or boiling water directly onto the frozen pipes. The sudden temperature change can lead to severe damage in the pipes, resulting in hairline cracks to exploding metal.
With that in mind, here is what you need to do in order to thaw out your pipes safely and efficiently. Take an old thick towel and wrap it around the pipe that you would like to thaw. This process can obviously be repeated more than once with however many pipes are frozen. Then, slowly pour hot or boiling water over the towel and wait for your pipes to thaw out, which they should do shortly.
2. Use Towels in a Somewhat Different Way
Boiling water over towels is a great way to fix frozen pipes - there’s no doubt about that. If you would rather not pour a bunch of water onto your floor or into a bucket that probably won’t catch everything, why not try using already-wet towels?
Get your towels thoroughly soaked in hot water and then apply them directly to your frozen pipes. Leave a dry towel underneath to catch any drips. Then, refresh the towels every once in a while and watch your pipes turn from frozen to free of ice!
3. Employ a Space Heater or Heat Lamp
If you want a solution a little less messy than having to mop up hot water and wring out towels, then why not try using a heat lamp or space heat to slowly but steadily thaw out your frozen pipes? There are plenty of different heat lamps on the market right now. If you don’t have one already, there are plenty of options to choose from. Direct the lamp’s heat onto the frozen pipes and wait for the thawing to begin.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to have rags, a mop, and a bucket on hand for when the inevitable thaw happens. Open both hot and cold faucets as you prepare to tackle with a frozen pipe so that pressure is released and there is less chance of bursting pipes. Even though opening the faucets is a great precaution, it will cause water to gush out of the frozen pipes as they thaw. So be prepared!
4. Utilize a Hairdryer
You might feel a little foolish, kneeling beside the pipes under the kitchen sink or in the basement and holding a hairdryer up to them. However, this great tool is a surprisingly effective tool with which to thaw out frozen pipes. Simply direct it to the frozen pipe and leave it on until the water starts flowing normally again. Make sure that you keep all electrical cords, outlets, or devices (such as the hairdryer itself) free from any contact with water. You don’t want to electrocute yourself, after all!
5. Heat Your Home to Target In-wall Pipes
Do you think that some of the pipes inside your home’s walls have frozen? If so, then you’re probably wondering what on earth you can do, especially since a heat lamp or hot water isn’t really an option. One simple way to potentially unfreeze the pipes in your home’s walls is to turn up the thermostat.
While it’s not as common for in-wall pipes to freeze for exposed pipes, it can happen. If turning up the heat doesn’t work, you may need to open up the wall and then use the other techniques on this list to thaw out the pipes.
6. Contact a Good Plumber
While we certainly don’t doubt your capabilities when it comes to fixing frozen pipes, there are times when the best thing you can do is get in touch with an experienced plumber. If your frozen pipes are bulging, if they’ve actually burst, or if all your best efforts aren’t thawing them out, you should consider calling a plumber who you trust. They can take a look at your frozen pipes and bring their expert advice and skills to bear on the problem.