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HOW TO: Thawing frozen pipes

Here's a few tips for thawing frozen pipes.

  • *Know where your main shutoff valve is and how to turn off the water. A burst pipe might not be evident until it thaws.
  • *Use a hair dryer or heat gun. A propane torch is dangerous.
  • *Use extreme caution around insulation. The paper facing on fiberglass insulation contains asphalt; it will ignite easily and burn fiercely.
  • *Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • *Open any faucets that aren't flowing. This will prevent pressure buildup in the pipes, and let you know when you have succeeded.
  • *Using the hair dryer or heat gun, start warming the pipe near the affected faucet and slowly work your way back to the source.
  • *Once water starts flowing, even if a trickle, have patience. The flowing water will thaw the ice.
  • *If the water suddenly stops flowing, ice has shifted and is blocking at a fitting or the faucet. You may need to heat these areas again.
  • *Once water flows at full volume, let it run a while to make sure that any remaining ice gets thawed.

Anyone else have more tips? Feel free to add them.

Re: HOW TO: Thawing frozen pipes

I guess I'd best not tell anyone how to use an arc-welder to thaw pipes. :D

Re: HOW TO: Thawing frozen pipes

Have done that many times at work with a Big Blue. Would not do that on my home pipes.

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