Three Ways to Thaw Frozen Pipes
If it’s pretty cold outside and you go to turn on the faucet, but no water comes out, it is likely that you have a frozen pipe. Usually, the pipe freezes in an area that is poorly insulated, such as an attic or crawl space. Frozen pipes can lead to burst pipes, but if you thaw out the pipes as quickly as possible you can minimize the damage. If your pipe does burst, you’ll need to immediately shut off your water at the main shutoff valve, and then call a professional Roto-Rooter Plumber to restore your plumbing for you. Thawing out pipes can prevent more expensive problems, and there are a few safe ways to thaw.
A heat gun can quickly thaw out frozen pipes so long as it’s used carefully. A heat gun is a tool that emits heat at up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can imagine, that will melt ice very quickly. However, that type of heat will also cause a fire if it comes into contact with wood or other materials. Also, if the heat gun comes into direct contact with the pipe, depending on the material of the pipe, the pipe itself might melt. If you already have a heat gun, you should already know how to safely operate it. If you don’t, another option may be best.
Another way to thaw out pipes is to rub them with rags soaked in warm water. Fill a bucket up with hot water, throw a few rags in, take one out, squeeze out the extra water, and rub away. When a rag begins to lose its warmth, throw it back in the bucket and repeat the process with another rag. It may take a while, but eventually the water will begin to flow again.
Hair dryers can also be used to help thaw out pipes. Most hair dryers have a heat setting designed to quickly dry hair, but the heat is enough to slowly thaw a pipe as well. With frozen pipes, time is valuable, so it's important to thaw them as quickly as possible.
Once you’ve thawed out a section of pipe, it is time to take measures to ensure that it doesn’t freeze again. The circumstances that led to the initial freezing are likely to happen again, so insulate these at-risk sections of pipe, and possibly use heat tape during especially cold parts of winter.