How To Thaw Frozen Water Pipes

How to Unfreeze Frozen Water Pipes?

How To Thaw Frozen Water Pipes-a-water-pipe
A frozen water pipe

There are many challenges the cold temperatures present one of them being frozen pipes which can become damaging to a home water system. Water that’s frozen in a water pipeline not only stops the free flow of water but frozen water can cause the pipes to expand exerting a tremendous amount of pressure that can cause the pipes to burst. This damaging effect from the freezing weather can cause hundreds if not thousands of dollars in damage.

We will be looking at a few methods to correct this concern and a few tips to prevent your water pipe system from being frozen, so join the discussion as we take an in-depth look at how to thaw frozen water pipes.

Signs of Frozen Water Pipes

An indication that your water pipes may be frozen is water that trickles or drops very slowly once the faucet has been turned on, or the water line may be coated with frost or may have a bulge. If you see these signs then it’s time to take action to avoid or quickly correct any damages.

Steps to Take to Unfreeze Frozen Pipes

1. Turn On The Faucet

Turn on your water faucet and allow the water to drip or trickle, this action can help in relieving pressure buildup from the frozen water pipe preventing it from bursting. When a water pipe is frozen pressure builds up between the faucet and the ice buildup. A faucet that has been turned on or open will relieve this pressure.

2. Apply Heat to the Frozen Area

Applying heat slowly to the frozen area will encourage thawing, the use of a space heater or a hair dryer can be used to supply heat, if using a hair dryer direct the air close to the end of the faucet pipe and slowly begin to move to the parts of the water pipe that’s cold ensure that the water faucet is left on while applying the heat. As you continue this process with the hair dryer also avoid the dryer from overheating. Another method is wrapping the water pipes in thermostatically controlled heat tape can also do the job.  Propane torches should be avoided at all times because the use of a propane torch can damage the pipe or possibly cause a fire.

3. Keep Applying the Heat

Continue to heat the pipe until the water starts to flow freely again, once the water pressure returns leave the faucet on for a few minutes, this will ensure complete thawing.

What is the Length of Time for Water Pipes to Unfreeze?

It all depends on the extent of the weather, where the water pipes are located, and how long these pipes have been frozen, but roughly may take anywhere from 30-40 minutes for your water pipes to become unfrozen.

What if your Water Pipe has Burst?

If you discover that you have a burst water pipe the first line of action is to shut off the main water supply to discourage flooding. With a mop and clothes or towels try to dry up as much water as possible. A wet/dry vacuum will be of much help provided there is one, running a dehumidifier to help with drying water can also help. Dry up the water as soon as possible which will discourage mildew and mold etc… It’s important that you seek professional help by calling a plumber at this time as well.

Places where Water Pipes are Frozen Easily

  • In an unheated basement or crawl spaces
  • In and outside wall that’s susceptible to outdoor temperatures that are freezing
  • Outdoor faucets that are used to connect a garden hose
  • In a cabinet under a sink when located near an outside wall

Tips to Prevent your Water Pipes from Freezing

  • Wrap the water pipe that has issues with electrical heat tape, plug the tape in especially when the weather is extremely cold
  • Keep the cabinet doors open to allow air circulation
  • Keep all water pipes, especially those that are located close to outside walls with heating cables or with foam rubber
  • Remove any garden hose that’s attached to the outside faucet, however, if the faucet is not a frost-proof type turn off the water to the faucet inside of the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe and the faucet
  • Keep the garage door closed
  • Let your pipe drip water especially when it’s extremely cold because it is harder for a water pipe to freeze when there is a trickle of water or water movement. If your concern is water wastage you can always catch or collect the water in a bucket to reuse for your garden or cleaning project
  • Before traveling, keep your home temperature above freezing, next turn of the water to your house

The final word on how to thaw frozen water pipes

Thawing a frozen water pipe is that simple, it amazes however of the many home damages that can occur when the weather drops, the good news is there are always corrective and preventive measures that can resolve these issues as for me preventive measures are the best way to go. So follow this guide to prevent your pipes from freezing or correcting frozen water pipe issues


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

4 thoughts on “How To Thaw Frozen Water Pipes”

  1. In my country, our weather is so erratic. It is supposed to be summer, but we are getting crazy cold days, and as a result, our water pipes are just not recovering. They are constantly getting frozen. 

    Your tips to prevent further damage to our water pipes are a real lifesaver. Thanks so much for all the help. 

    Really appreciate it

    • So sorry to hear of your challenge with the weather, hopefully, Gods will it will clear up soon. I am so happy to help, all the best to you, and  have a good day

  2. Ah I should have seen this article before. I saw some of the symptoms that you mentioned regarding frozen pipes, but I decided to ignore them thinking that they will unfreeze by themselves. After paying 600 euros in damages, I learned some stuff. Thank you for the info, I’ll definitely bookmark it!

    • So sorry to hear that you had to spend your money to correct this issue but I am so happy to help and hope that you get to use this information next time if the need arises.


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