How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Thaw a Frozen Pipe

If water is barely trickling from a faucet when you turn it on, you may have a frozen pipe. This is especially likely if you have pipes outdoors or inside a crawl space. This frozen water can create more than 2,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, which can easily cause your pipe to burst. If this has already happened, then you need to act quickly to make a temporary fix for the burst pipe before you call in the experts. If there is no leak yet, then you can thaw the frozen section of plumbing. Start by leaving the faucet open, and then find where along the line your pipes have frozen. One thing you can NEVER do is use a flame torch, or any other open flame device, to thaw the frozen pipe. Such devices are a considerable fire hazard.

Thawing an Exposed Pipe

If you find that an exposed pipe is frozen, then you have a few ways to go about thawing it. Whichever method you choose, keep your main water valve on so that melting water can get out as you thaw the pipe starting from the faucet and going toward the frozen section. To begin the thaw, you can choose one of the following tools:

  • A hairdryer, ideally a high-power one, is often a readily available and safe option. You can also pair this hair dryer with a cookie sheet, holding the sheet behind the pipe so it spreads the heat to the other side of the pipe.
  • If you have an infrared heating lamp, then this can do an excellent job of thawing a pipe. A cookie sheet can come in handy here too.
  • A powerful small portable heater can do so much more than a hair dryer, and it is especially ideal for pipes that have frozen under a kitchen sink or under a vanity base cabinet.
  • A longer-lasting solution is to thaw with electric pipe heat tape, which you can wrap around the pipe, then plug it in. It often makes sense to leave the tape on the pipe so you can plug it in during particularly cold weather.

Thawing a Pipe Inside a Wall

If you have a frozen pipe that has not cracked yet, but it is behind a wall or even a ceiling, then you have come across a tricky situation. If you want to thaw the pipe yourself, you have a few things you can try:

Turning the heat up for your entire house, and then see if anything changes

Setting up infrared lamps around the affected area

Taking out a section of the wall or ceiling so you can thaw the newly exposed pipe directly

If none of these options are feasible in your case, or if nothing seems to be working, then you cannot afford to delay. If a pipe cracks, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in damage. That is why your best bet is to prevent pipes from freezing in the first place. If it is too late for that, then your best option may be to call an experienced plumbing technician straight away.

Emergency Help from a Plumber in Kansas City

If you have a frozen pipe, you can find the qualified assistance you deserve at A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc. If your pipe has already burst, then our team offers emergency services at no extra charge, even on weekends or past business hours. No matter the plumbing problem you face, be it small or great, our Kansas City plumbers are ready to help. We have been providing reliable service throughout the Kansas City Metro Area since 1968. You can get your no-obligation quote for any plumbing job when you call our office today!

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