4 Simple Steps to Thaw Frozen Pipes

Hair dryer

Few cold-weather maladies are more irritating than frozen pipes.

Turning on the bathroom or kitchen faucet and seeing only a few drops or a trickle of water could indicate that water inside the pipes has frozen – preventing a free flow. But don’t panic. You may be more equipped to deal with the situation than you think. Here’s a quick lesson on how to thaw a frozen pipe.

Step 1. Turn on the faucet

Keep it running. Allowing the faucet to drip even slightly can help prevent a pipe from bursting. It’s simple – when freezing takes place, extreme pressure builds between the faucet and the ice blockage. An open faucet relieves this pressure buildup, in turn preventing a burst from occurring.

Step 2. Apply heat to the frozen area

Slowly apply heat using a hair dryer. Begin directing air close to the faucet end of the pipe and gradually move toward the coldest section. Be careful not to overheat the hair dryer or blow a fuse. Remember, the faucet should be left on while heat is being applied.

Step 3. Continue to apply heat

Don’t stop heating until full water pressure is restored. Even then, it’s a good idea to leave the faucet open for a few minutes after the pipe is thawed. This will give the ice time to completely clear from the line.

Step 4. Check all faucets

Check each faucet in your home for any other frozen pipes. One frozen pipe may mean that others have been affected as well.

If the problem persists, contact a plumber. You can prevent pipes from freezing again by taking simple steps before you travel like keeping the temperature in your home above freezing and turning off all the water to your house before you leave.

And remember, a frozen pipe isn’t the only issue that comes with cold weather. Find out other ways to protect your home during the winter.