Pacific Sheet Metal Blog

How to Treat Frozen Pipes

Posted by Joey Haack on Jan 4, 2019 2:33:00 PM


With the temperatures dropping, the chance of your pipes freezing increases. Freezing and bursting pipes are not only an inconvenience but can also cause serious water damage to your home. If your pipes are frozen, don't panic. Here's how to treat them. 


Locate the Frozen Pipe

This step will be fairly easy. You'll know that a pipe is frozen if a) only a trickle of water is coming out of the faucet or b) a sink is not draining. Chances are if one pipe is frozen in your home, other pipes are frozen as well. Be sure to check all areas of your home that are outfitted with pipes, including 

  • The kitchen
  • All bathrooms
  • The laundry room
  • Utility room
  • The basement

Once you have identified the frozen pipes in your home, you can begin to treat them accordingly.


Open the Faucet

Most sources encourage homeowners to open both the hot and cold water taps when beginning to thaw frozen pipes. By opening up the faucet in the affected area, you’ll be allowing water to flow freely as it melts and avoid putting added pressure on the pipe. This will also help you determine when you have completely thawed the ice blockage. 


Thaw the Frozen Area

Regardless of how you choose to thaw the frozen area, remember to start at the faucet and work your way out into the frozen pipe. Doing so will reduce the amount of pressure building up behind the blockage and help to prevent the pipe from bursting.


For an Exposed Pipe

To thaw an exposed pipe, choose any of the following tools to thaw the affected area:

  • Hair dryer
  • Hot towels
  • Electrical heating tape
  • Heat lamp
  • Portable space heater


For an Enclosed Pipe

If the pipe in question is behind a wall, you have a few options to thaw the blockage:

  • Turn up the heat in your home
  • Use an infrared lamp
  • Cut a hole in the wall and use the above tools for an exposed pipe

 Never use a blow torch or any other type of open flame to thaw a frozen pipe. This can cause irreparable damage to your pipe and may cause a fire to start in your home.


What to Do If a Pipe Bursts

If a pipe does indeed burst, the first thing you need to do is shut off your main water line. Each home is different, but the main shut-off is usually found near your water meter. After you’ve stopped the flow of water, place a bucket or other basin under the burst pipe to collect any more drainage. Contact a professional plumbing company to have your pipes repaired.


How to Prevent Pipes from Freezing

To prevent your pipes from freezing, implement the following practices into your routine:

  • Keep the heat on and set at or above 55° F.
  • Open cabinets that conceal plumbing.
  • Keep all interior doors open.
  • Let a light trickle of water flow from your faucets during very cold temperatures.
  • Add extra insulation to pipes on exterior walls.


If you need plumbing services this winter, contact RFV Plumbing and Electrical. Winter weather conditions are hard on your home. Our team has the knowledge and experience to treat your winter woes and get your plumbing back to normal. Call (888) 906-4769 in case of a plumbing emergency or (970) 989-9973 for non-emergency service. 


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Topics: plumbing