Never pour hot water on frozen plumbing and do not attempt to thaw plumbing with a blowtorch. The hot water usually freezes on the outside of the pipe, and the burner can detonate frozen pipes when steam is generated. Also, do not hit pipes to break the ice, as hammer blows can cause pipes to break.
Depending on the outside temperature and the degree of freezing in the pipe, the defrosting process can take between one and six hours. Once the pipes have thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check for cracks and leaks.
Heat gun. A heat gun can quickly thaw frozen pipes as long as it’s used carefully. A heat gun is a tool that puts out heat up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can imagine, the ice melts very quickly.
Thaw frozen pipes
But if they have running water, your pipes are probably frozen. Immediately turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Open the faucet to allow water to flow through the pipe once the area has melted. This will melt more ice.
Fortunately, most DIY pipe thawing methods get the water flowing again within 30-40 minutes. You may be tempted to wait for the pipes to thaw on their own. But keep in mind: depending on the weather, the process can take days.
Pipes will eventually thaw on their own but this takes much longer and before thawing occurs the freezing could get much worse. This could eventually cause the pipe to burst and do significantly more damage. It’s better to proactively thaw a frozen pipe size than to let it stand.
Also, if you’re going away during a cold snap, set your heating no lower than 55 degrees so the pipes don’t freeze. And if you do come across a dreaded frozen whistle, turns out a hair dryer, heat lamp or space heater can do a pretty good job of thawing a whistle.
“You would start at the faucet and work your way up to heating the pipe.” You can also use a heating pad, heat lamp, or space heater in the room where the pipe is located. Towels soaked in water can also be wrapped around the tube.
How long does it take for pipes to thaw? Space heaters, hair dryers, and heat lamps are common household appliances that can thaw pipes in 30 to 45 minutes. However, it is almost always advisable to seek professional help if pressure build-up has ruptured pipes.
Heat the frozen part with a hair dryer or even pour warm water over it. Yes, locate the frozen area, check for cracks if there aren’t any, heat the pipes a little, then run water through them. Friction heats up. It’s quicker if you pour boiling water down the drain.
Alternatively, you can wrap the tube in heat tape and plug it in. You should be able to thaw the ice in the tube in 30-45 minutes using one of these methods. Then your devices are ready for use.
When the water is initially hot, the chilled water at the bottom is denser than the hot water at the top, so convection does not occur and the bottom begins to freeze while the top is still warm. This effect, combined with the evaporation effect, can in some cases cause hot water to freeze faster than cold water.
Hair dryers, hot towels, heat lamps, and electric heating tapes can all be used to thaw frozen pipes. If you’re using a hair dryer, hot towels, or even electrical tape, start closest to the faucet and work your way toward the blockage to avoid trapping melting ice behind the blockage.
Contrary to popular belief, both cold water and hot water pipes are very susceptible to frost. Cold water pipes need to be drained, but so do hot water pipes. At sub-zero temperatures, hot water pipes cool down quickly and are at high risk of freezing.
A dripping faucet wastes some water, so only frost-prone pipes (running through an unheated or unprotected space) should be left with running water. The dripping can be very small. A flow of one gallon per hour is sufficient to prevent freezing.
Contact a professional plumber equipped with pipe thawing equipment to get your pipes flowing again and make repairs to damaged pipes if needed. Even if no leaks are found, a plumber should examine pipes that are severely frozen.