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How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

A frozen pipe is an issue you don’t want to “wait out,” as it is important to thaw out your frozen pipes to prevent pipe bursts and potential flooding to your property immediately. However, it’s even more important that this process is done safely and correctly. Here’s how:

Step 1: Locate frozen pipes and open their faucets

While some frozen pipes end up looking more like icicles than drainage systems in the winter, others are not so simple to locate. Any faucet you turn on that either has no water at all come out or only a slight trickle, could mean that your pipe is frozen somewhere along the way. Exposed frozen pipes might have some frost on them, or there might be a slight bulge indicating a blockage.

Once you’ve determined which pipes are frozen, open both the hot and cold handles to relieve pressure on the system. When the pipe begins to thaw, the blockage will try to come through, and if the water is not released, you could end up causing further damage.

Step 2: Options for thawing exposed pipes

Though it might be tempting, never begin your thawing process at the source. Always start thawing near the faucet, and work your way down to the blockage. If you start thawing out the blockage first, the released ice will build up even more and create more pressure inside the pipe, leading to exactly what you’re trying to avoid: a burst pipe.

Fully thawing exposed pipes requires that you continue to apply pressure until the running water is fully restored. Here are some easy options for warming an exposed frozen pipe:

  • Hair Dryer
  • Hot Towels
  • Heat Lamp
  • Electrical Heating Tape

Step 3: Options for thawing enclosed pipes

Frozen pipes that cannot be accessed by hand are a bit more tricky to deal with, but not impossible. Here are some options for thawing out this type of pipe:

  • Increase the temperature in your home
  • Infrared lamp–placed in front of the wall where the pipe is located
  • Last resort: cut out a section of the wall and access the pipe. (Call a professional).

Safety Tip:

NEVER thaw out a pipe using an open flame. This can damage the pipe and cause flooding; or worse, it can start a fire in your home.

If you are working on your frozen pipe and the pipe bursts, immediately shut off the main water line to your property and call a professional to help. For expert assistance in the Amarillo area, call A&R Plumbing, Heating, and Air, for high-quality, dependable and affordable home solutions. Contact us at (806) 372-1572 or visit for more information.

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