If you’ve ever experienced the misfortune of having frozen water pipes, you know how much trouble it can cause. Besides the inconvenience of not having properly running water, it can result in thousands of dollars’ worth of damages if the problem is not corrected in time. Learning how to unfreeze your pipes quickly can save you from a whole lot of trouble later on.


pipe with frozen water in itPrevent Freezing Pipes

Before we go into strategies for thawing frozen water pipes, we’d like to discuss your first line of defense, which is to avoid frozen pipes in the first place. For example, if you are going away for a few days and want to conserve energy while you’re gone, you might turn down the thermostat but you should never let it go below 15 degrees C (58 degrees F).

If your heating system is not providing heat to the outside walls of your home, you are at risk of getting frozen pipes. You may also want to consider using some form of insulation around your pipes such as electric heat tape, fibreglass or aluminum foil.


How to Unfreeze Your Pipes

So what happens when your efforts at prevention fail, and you’ve ended up with frozen pipes? Here are a few tricks you can try provided the pipes have yet to burst:

Use a Hair Dryer – for this method to work, you are going to have to find the exact part of the pipe that is frozen and hold the hairdryer at this point. This method works best if you have metal pipes. If your pipes are plastic, be sure to check the heat rating first along with the heat of your hairdryer since it’s possible for some hair dryers to melt plastic piping!

Get a Thawing Machine – A thawing machine can be a great solution for anyone who lives in a region that frequently gets freezing temperatures. It is a small machine that helps to melt ice blockages in metal pipes when you attach its electrical leads to either side of the blockage.  A thawing machine is expensive, and if your pipes rarely freeze, it is probably a better option to call a plumber.

Continuously Run the Water – if your pipes are beginning to freeze, solving the problem may be as simple as turning on the faucet. The continuously running water will help to melt the ice inside the pipe.


Know When to Call a Plumber

If you have tried the above methods to no avail, then it may be time to call in the experts before that frozen water pipe turns into a burst pipe. Since frozen pipes are a common issue that plumbers see time and time again, they can usually locate the problem much more quickly than the average homeowner.

Remember, frozen pipes can be a minor problem and sometimes it is fairly easy to thaw frozen pipes on your own. Just don’t allow the problem to go on for too long as it can escalate into a more major issue. Give the above tips a try. If they work, then great! If not, Contact Wentworth Plumbing in Hamilton, Ontario, and we’ll take care of those frozen pipes for you at a time that works for you.