How to Fix Frozen Pipes

Published by Home Service Stars on

Wintertime can put a lot of wear and tear on your home. Many homeowners understand the frustration and expense of frozen pipes – it’s something that everyone dreads. If you’ve forgotten to keep water running in your home during a winter storm, there are a few ways that you can fix broken pipes yourself, without costly repair services.

Use a Hairdryer

Use a hairdryer to gently thaw a frozen pipe. Pipes that run along the exterior of your home are the most likely to freeze first. If you notice that your water isn’t running, heat the pipes with a hairdryer using gentle sweeping motions – don’t simply zap it one spot at a time. Make sure to keep an eye on the hairdryer to avoid a fire hazard!

Wrap Pipe With Hot Towels

Wrap hot towels around a frozen pipe if your hairdryer won’t reach. Warm towels in a clothes dryer and wrap tightly around the frozen pies, securing them in place. This works best on copper or galvanized steel piping, versus PVC, as metal conducts heat better. You may also choose to dampen your towels with hot water, and gently pour more water over the towels as they lose heat. Don’t forget to place a bucket underneath to catch drips! Again, don’t leave these hot towels unattended.

Use Heat Cables or Heat Tape

Use heating cables or heat tape to wrap your frozen pipes. These specialty items can be purchased at most home improvement stores, and are fairly straightforward to use. The heating cables can be applied before a big winter storm to prevent freezing pipes or used to thaw them afterward. They’re self-regulating, automatically varying their heat output based upon the surrounding temperature. Heating tape is a flat tape coated in rubber. The heat tape must run flat along the pipe and cannot overlap itself. Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions before using either of these – heating tape, especially, cannot be used on plastic or PVC pipes.

Turn Up the Heat in Your Home

Turn up the heat in your home and be patient. The surrounding temperature can help thaw frozen pipes, or you can place space heaters along the exterior-facing walls to heat hard-to-reach areas. This might help thaw pipes closer to the interior of your home, but thawing pipes that run along the outside might take quite a while with this method. Avoid leaving the space heaters unattended, as they can lead to an unexpected fire.

You can always call a plumber with a professional-grade thawing machine if these DIY tips aren’t solving your problem, or if you’re concerned about damage to your home. Choosing a local plumber that has experience with the types of homes and weather patterns of your area can keep you from a costly mistake!


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