How to Thaw Frozen Hot Water Pipes

People in more moderate climates could never understand the frustration of having frozen water pipes. Indeed, though, in areas where the temperatures dip way below freezing, frozen hot water pipes can be a serious nuisance. Not only that, but if pipes stay frozen for a long time, they could wind up bursting. A burst pipe is certainly something no homeowner would wish on his or her worst enemy. Luckily, there are a number of ways to thaw a frozen hot water pipe, so that it doesn’t get to the point of bursting and so that it doesn’t get to the point where you have to spend a fortune on plumbing and repairs. Here is how to thaw a frozen hot water pipe.

Your first step is to find the frozen pipes. There could be more than one, so you may be searching for a while until you find all the culprits. Usually, you can simply turn on all the hot water faucets in your home and if water is not coming out of one of your faucets, you have a frozen block in that pipe. So, you must find the actual source of the frozen block and start to prepare everything you need to thaw the pipe.

After you find the pipe, you can start to employ a number of different methods to thaw it. However, it is important to note that if your pipe bursts when trying to thaw the ice, you should immediately turn off all faucets, because you could wind up with some serious water damage. Also, there may be the issue where your ice block is behind a wall. If you have the tools, you can cut out a portion of the wall and then replace the wall when you have thawed out the pipe.

Next, you want to turn on your heat – up to about 80 degrees. If you have an energy recovery ventilator – turn that on too. What is an energy recovery ventilator? An energy recovery ventilator will basically pull all the moisture out of your bathroom or kitchen and turn it into warmth for your home. When you have frozen pipes, you are going to need all the warmth you can get. After you turn on the heat, you want to wait about an hour or so. Sometimes, the ice will thaw and won’t have to do anything else.

Lastly, if the ice still won’t thaw, you can start applying warmth directly to the pipe. For instance, rags soaked in boiling hot water can be wrapped around the pipe that is frozen. You can also use a hair dryer or heat-blower and apply the heat to the pipe for stretches of a time. If you have heat blankets, you can use those too. Usually, a combination of a few of those tools will do the trick. As soon as you hear the water flowing again, you have successfully thawed your pipes. At the end of the day, you may have a few more instances of freezing pipes during the winter, but at least you’ll know exactly what to do.

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