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Tips To Thaw Frozen Pipes

Published on February 17, 2023
Written by Bo
Fixing leaking pipes

With spring weather on the horizon, it is important to continue properly caring for your home in the freezing temperatures. Pipes in Skagit County can freeze when outdoor temperatures drop below 32 degrees, but have a higher chance of freezing at temperatures below 20 degrees. Frozen and burst pipes are a homeowner’s worst nightmare, because of the stressful and uncomfortable situation the dilemma can cause. We are here to keep you and your home cozy and comfortable, which is why we help homeowners remain knowledgeable on frozen pipes and other home maintenance. In this blog, we detail safe ways to thaw frozen pipes to avoid pipes from bursting.

How To Find A Frozen Pipe

Finding a frozen pipe before it bursts is crucial to protecting your home from water damage. If you turn on a faucet after temperatures have been low and it only drips, it is likely you have a frozen pipe somewhere in your home. While any pipe can freeze, below are the most common situations:

  • Outdoor Pipes
  • Basements
  • Crawlspaces
  • Unheated Spaces
  • Little/No Insulation Around The Pipe

Water expands as it freezes, which often results in bulging pipes. Additionally, frozen pipes may have a layer of condensation or small cracks on the pipe. Be aware of these appearances when looking for frozen pipes in Snohomish County and surrounding areas. If there are no visual indicators, simply feel the pipe for colder areas or compare temperatures to a properly functioning pipe.

How To Thaw A Frozen Pipe

Pipes are more likely to burst when exposed to freezing weather conditions for more than 6 hours. While this can seem like a long time, temperatures are typically below freezing when you go to bed and begin to warm up when the sun rises. This is typically an 8 hour window, which is plenty of time for pipes to freeze and burst. It is crucial to pay close attention to your pipes when temperatures are predicted to drop below 20 degrees to avoid pipes from bursting and creating a stressful situation. The moment you identify a frozen pipe, the goal is to add warmth and thaw the pipe.

The first two steps to thawing pipes is turning off the main water supply and opening the faucet closest to the pipe that has frozen. This allows an outlet for the water as it melts. If there are noticeable cracks, we recommend assessing the situation and preparing with a bucket or towels to prevent water spillage. Next, begin the thawing process. Below five are ways to safely thaw a frozen pipe in Pierce County, WA and surrounding areas.

  • Warm Towels
  • Hair Dryer
  • Space Heater
  • Heat Lamp
  • Heat Tape

Warm Towels

Warm towels are a simple and cost effective way to thaw frozen pipes. Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around the frozen areas. To speed up the process, use a bucket and pour warm water over the towels.

Hair Dryer

Hair dryers can be a quick way to thaw pipes if aimed directly at the frozen area. Utilizing hair dryers should always be monitored and used on a low heat setting. Consistently move the hair dryer back and forth on the frozen areas to avoid overheated areas. Be sure to remember hair dryers can be a hazard if wet.

Space Heater

Space heaters are a beneficial way to thaw frozen pipes in small areas, such as underneath cabinets. Space heaters can stand alone and require minimal effort, but should be monitored during the process.

Heat Lamp

Heat produced from heat lamps can safely thaw a small section of frozen pipes as well. Similar to using a hair dryer, be cautious not to get heat lamps wet due to potential hazards.

Heat Tape

Electrical heating tape can be a cost effective and easily accessible way to thaw pipes. Most home improvement or hardware stores carry heat tape for a low cost. Simply wrap the frozen area in tape and wait as it thaws.

Water will begin running out of the faucets when pipes begin to thaw. Once your pipes have completely thawed, inspect each one for damage before turning your water supply back on. If your pipes are hard to reach, underground, or hidden inside your walls, give us a call! We can help professionally thaw pipes to minimize damage and prevent your home from a stressful situation. Our expert technicians can easily identify each frozen pipe, if multiple, and perform preventative tasks to protect your home and pipes.

Give Full Speed Plumbing A Call For Frozen Pipes!

If your pipes burst in Skagit County, it is best to leave it to the Full Speed Plumbing professionals. If burst pipes are not cared for properly, the situation can damage your home’s structure, walls, floors, and other areas as well as cause mold growth. We can quickly arrive at your home and begin the process to prevent further water damage and restore your home comfort. Let us help professionally repair your pipes in Mount Vernon and surrounding areas!

Related Article: How To Prevent Frozen Pipes


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