Q:

How can you thaw frozen water pipes?

A:

Quick Answer

Frozen water pipes can be thawed by shutting off the main water valve, opening the faucets and applying heat to the frozen pipe. Pipes often freeze when the temperature drops during the winter and no insulation is available to prevent water from turning to ice in the plumbing system.

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Full Answer

Frozen pipes are identifiable by bulges in the pipes and a lack of flowing water to plumbing fixtures in the home.

Step 1: Shut off the water supply

Homeowners can shut off the water just to the section that contains the frozen pipe, or to the entire residence. This prevents a flood of water from gushing through faucets once the pipes thaw.

Step 2: Open all of the faucets and spigots

Frozen pipes create a great deal of pressure behind the clog. To relieve that pressure and to prevent flooding, leave the faucets and spigots open until the pipe is completely thawed.

Step 3: Heat the frozen pipe

Apply heat with a hair dryer or space heater until the pipe completely thaws. If the spigot or faucet does not empty into a basin, keep a bucket nearby to catch the flow of water as the ice melts. Once the clog is completely gone, turn on the main water supply to verify that water flows through faucets, and toilets flush.

Never use a blowtorch or an open flame to thaw frozen pipes. This could result in a serious fire or explosion, especially if the water inside the pipes boils.

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