How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Emergency Plumber in Riverside, CA

Even here in sunny California, we’re susceptible to some of the unpleasant winter effects that come along with frosty temperatures. For you, it may just mean investing in a heavier jacket. For your pipes, however, even California winter weather can be detrimental!

If you turn on your faucet in the middle of January and nothing comes out, you may be dealing with a frozen pipe. There’s no need to panic though—there are a few solutions you can try to thaw the blockage!

Thawing an Exposed Pipe:

Once you’ve located the frozen pipe, if you find that it’s easily accessible, there are a few ways you can go about thawing it. You’ll use the same technique for whichever method you choose, which is to apply heat moving from the faucet to the frozen area.

The blocked area in a frozen pipe will usually have frost or ice around the outside or be noticeably bulging or cracked. One of the easiest ways to unfreeze the blockage is with a hair dryer, but a space heater, hot towels, and electric pipe heat tape are all effective options as well.

Thawing Hidden Pipes:

If you suspect your frozen pipe is behind a wall or in the ceiling, the thawing process may be a little trickier. There are three reliable solutions you can try:

  • Turn up the heat in your house. Wait to see if the faucet water returns to normal temperature and pressure.
  • Use an infrared lamp if you know where within the wall the obstruction is located. An infrared lamp will be more effective and safer than a regular heat lamp because the energy can be applied more directly, making it thaw the pipe faster and less likely to overheat the wall.
  • Expose the pipe and thaw using one of the methods in the section above. Cut out the section of the wall or ceiling in front of the frozen pipe to make it accessible.

Sometimes, frozen pipes can burst before you have a chance to thaw them and result in serious damage. Inland Empire Leak Detection can dispatch an emergency plumber to repair your leak and salvage your home and belongings.

If you’re dealing with a burst pipe, or think you may have a leak somewhere else, contact us today to ease your mind and get the professional services you need!