How to thaw a frozen pipe?

20 September 2021

During extreme cold snaps, people often wonder how to thaw a frozen pipe. There are different ways of doing it. Whether you do the work yourself or call a plumber, it’s important to act quickly to avoid any water damage that could result from a burst pipe. If you find that one of your faucets is running at a trickle or not at all in cold weather, you can assume that you have a frozen pipe.

How to locate a frozen pipe?

A frozen pipe can be visually identified by a layer of frost on the frozen area. In the absence of frost, a damp cloth placed on the pipe should stick slightly on the frozen portion. Frozen pipes are often located in poorly insulated areas, exterior walls, crawlspaces and north-facing walls.

Thawing a frozen pipe

This is simple to do. Use a hair dryer and direct the warm air stream at the frozen area you want to thaw.

Preventing a pipe from freezing

There are different ways to keep your pipes from freezing:

  • Install a foam sheath or insulating tape around the pipes
  • Wrap a heating cable around the pipes