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How to Safely Thaw Frozen Water Lines

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Hers And His Plumbing - Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex

Frozen water pipes are very common in colder climates. In most cases, you can thaw the pipe before any major damage occurs. You will need a few basic tools, like a heat source and some insulating materials, to melt the ice that is blocking the pipe. You should begin by finding the pipes that are frozen.

Finding the Frozen Pipe

The first thing that you need to do is find out exactly where the pipe has frozen. The ice will typically be found where the pipe is exposed to cold air, such as in crawlspaces or along outside walls. You may notice signs of ice inside the pipe, such as frost on the outside of the pipe. If you notice a pipe that is bulging or cracked, make sure that you turn the water main off before you attempt to thaw the pipe. This will allow you to repair the pipe without being sprayed with water.

Add Heat

A hair dryer and thermal tape may be a simple solution if you know where the pipe is frozen. Hold the hair dryer about six inches away from the pipe and move the dryer along the frozen area until it is thawed. It is important to never use open flame to thaw a pipe. Opt for safer options such as a heating pad wrapped around the pipe, a hair dryer or even a space heater that is equipped with safety settings that ensure the heater will turn off if it happens to fall over. Ideally, you will want to stay near the pipe until it is thawed using any of these methods.

Heat tape may be recommended if you are trying to thaw a pipe that is in an unheated area. Make sure that when insulating the pipe, you opt for fiberglass insulation rather than standard foam pipe insulation when using heat tape. Heat tape can be purchased for both PVC and metal pipes. Opt for the tape that is specifically designed for your water pipes to be sure that it will work properly without melting the pipes or causing other damage.

When Pipes in Walls Freeze

It is possible for the pipes to freeze inside the walls of your home. If this happens, you should begin thawing the ice as soon as possible to avoid a flood in the room where the pipe is located. You can begin by turning the heat up inside your home and opening the faucets that the pipe supplies. To thaw frozen water pipes inside walls faster, you will need to remove a section of the wall.

Removing a section of the wall may not be too big of a task if you have drywall. You can cut the drywall carefully with a razor knife if you are sure where the pipe is frozen. This can be a big, and unnecessary, hassle if you cut the wrong section of wall out, however. Opting to call for help may be your best choice if you have frozen pipes inside your home.

Call For Help

When you can’t identify where the pipe is frozen, you may want to call a professional plumber for help. Thawing pipes quickly is the best way to prevent the possibility of a busted pipe. A professional can help you identify frozen water pipes quickly and help prevent serious damage to your water pipes and home.

Unfortunately, many times when a layman tries to thaw water pipes they get left with  a leaky pipe. If that is your situation, please call your friendly plumbers at Here and His Plumbing DFW – that is, if you are in our service area. We are located in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex and you can get more information by clicking the Our Service Area link at the top of the page or take this link: Service Area
Call us at 817-412-0561

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