Simple Tips To Defrost Frozen House Pipes

During cold winter weather, the water inside the pipes in your home can freeze. Frozen pipes are hazardous as the ice can burst through the pipe. When the ice inside a ruptured pipe melts, many gallons of water will rush into your home, potentially causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

How to Defrost Frozen House Pipes

The process of defrosting frozen pipes depends on where the pipes are located. Defrosting exposed pipes is easier than defrosting pipes that are hidden within the walls of your home. Step by step guides to defrosting each type of pipe are given below.

How to Defrost Exposed Frozen Pipes In Your Home: Step by Step

    1. Open the taps that are supplied by the frozen pipe. Doing this means that you will be able to see water trickling out of the tap once the pipe has been successfully defrosted.
    2. Find the frozen section of the pipe. Water usually freezes in parts of the pipe that are exposed to the cold air, so check outdoor sections first. Also check pipes that run through the cellar. The frozen section will feel cold and there will probably be frost on the pipe.
    3. If the pipe has already burst, do not defrost the pipe. Turn off the water supply using your home’s main shut-off valve and call a plumber to replace the ruptured section.
    4. If the frozen section of pipe is exposed, then you can defrost it using a hair dryer. Keep moving the stream of hot air over the pipe to spread the heat evenly.
    5. If you don’t have a hair dryer, you can use warm water to defrost the pipes. Dip rags into hot (not boiling) water and wrap them around the pipe. As they cool, remove them and put them back in the hot water to reheat.

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Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thelebers/265236006/

How to Defrost Frozen Pipes Within the Walls of Your Home: Step by Step

If the frozen section of pipe is hidden inside the walls of your home, then you need to take a different approach. Open the taps supplied by the frozen pipes as explained above, then follow these steps to defrost the pipe.

  1. Look for the frozen section of pipe. It is most likely to be located inside an exterior wall. The wall will probably feel cold above the frozen section of pipe.
  2. Use a heat lamp, an infrared lamp, or a portable heater to gently heat the pipe through the wall. Keep the heater at least 45 cm from the wall and away from flammable objects. Never use a naked flame to defrost pipes as this poses a risk of fire.
  3. If you can’t find the frozen section, turn up the central heating in your home and wait. Open cupboard doors to let the heat reach the walls.

When to Call a Plumber

If none of these methods work for you, call a plumber for help with locating and defrosting the frozen pipes. If a pipe bursts while you are working on it, turn off the main water supply immediately and call a plumber.

Article given to us by BBS Plumb

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