Thawing Frozen Pipes

Category Plumbing
Once pipes are frozen it can be difficult to get them thawed before the weather warms up. This page is about thawing frozen pipes.


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January 4, 2011

When we lived in a mobile home years ago, our water pipes were exposed under the trailer. The first year we were there we didn't know about heat tape so our pipes froze. Since they only freeze in one area, we had to find the frozen part. To find the exact area that is frozen, take a wet cloth and run along the pipe. When you see crystals form on the pipe you've found the spot. Simply turn on the tap and heat the area with a hair dryer. It will thaw the ice and the water will run again without breaking the pipe. Prevention of course is heat tape, insulation, and, if at or below freezing is expected at night, then keep the water running in all faucets slowly.

By Myst from Muncie, IN

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January 30, 2014

As already mentioned above home frozen pipes could be thawed with the help of a hair dryer. However below follow some useful alternatives:

  • Of course applying heat to the specific frozen area is essential. You could use electric heating pads, a standard space heater, or even towels soaked in hot water that you could wrap around the pipe. The latter technique could be quite messy, though it proves to render really good results. Do not use any flammable devices and keep in mind that a propane torch would heat the pipes way to quickly and might case them to explode. Pouring boiling water over the pipes is another thing you should refrain from doing.

  • Make the process even faster: leave the faucet open and thus the running water will melt the frozen chunk in the pipe much more easily.

  • Locating the problem: when you are searching for the exact location of the frozen pipes you should pay attention to the house exterior walls as well as the place where the water systems enter your home through the drainage system.

  • Take preventive measures in the cold months: you could wrap the pipe with a heating cable and insulate properly for heat conservation purposes.


Comment Was this helpful? 4

I forgot to insulate my pipes before the temperatures dropped. See how I fixed my big mistake without it costing me an arm and a leg.



  • hairdryer
  • extension cord


  1. First off, I would like to say I got very lucky. I was getting my house ready to be sold and was no longer living in it. So, when the temperatures suddenly dropped. I thought nothing of it. A week or so of freezing temperatures went by before I remembered that my garden hose was still hooked up and on. The only thing stoping the water flow was the sprayer hooked up to the hose. I panicked! I had heard all the stories of frozen pipes bursting and both my mom and dad's words of advice came flowing in, "Always remember to remove you hose and put a insulator over your faucet before the first freeze!"
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  3. I checked online first and learned what other people had done in my situation. The method I chose was to use a hair dryer on the faucet. I hooked up my hairdryer to an extension cord and dragged it outside and started to warm the faucet, all the while crossing my fingers that water would start flowing. After about 1 minute of heating, the faucet the water started to trickle out. I continued to blow heat onto the faucet and eventually it started to flow regularly.
  4. I hip hip hoorayed and promptly put an insulator over the faucet. Yay for no broken pipes!
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January 29, 2005

If your water pipes freeze and you have no torch, try a hair dryer to thaw them out or even a heating pad. By Robin

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 16, 2011

The blizzard that hit Missouri froze our pipes. We were told to just replace all the water lines. We don't know where to start.

By patricia c fraer from Willow Springs, MO


February 17, 20110 found this helpful

First you call a plumber and get estimates. Several. We had all our dirty water pipes replaced last Nov. we had a leak that ran up our water bill something awful, these were the original pipes, we replaced them all $4,500,but we will never have to worry about a leak there again and years ago we had the clean water pipes replaced, every time you get a leak it cost money for them to find them $$$$ and that can add up depending on how many you have, and how often The pipes they use now are made of PVC and to last, and not the kind they used years ago.


good luck.but only a plumber can help you
Linda in Texas

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February 19, 20110 found this helpful

Does your home owner's insurance cover this loss? With such a big job sounds like you need a plumber. Make sure he has a license and is insured. Don't pay until the job is done. Good luck to you.

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

Freezing can cause hair line fractures in the pipes, which will leak sometime in the future. I think the answer lies in do you know how to do the work yourself, and do you have the time.

I would definitely replace all the pipes, as it will save you future headaches.

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

I forgot to mention. Once you have repaired the pipes cover all the pipes with the pipe insulation available at home depot or lowes. That will help prevent any breakage due to cold weather. If it gets really cold again, leave an incandescent work light on in the area where your pipes are located. The light bulb will generate enough heat to keep the pipes warm.

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January 18, 20160 found this helpful

I left my water running last night and got up this morning, made coffee and did 2 loads of laundry now my pipes are frozen

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January 18, 2016

I left my water running last night and did 2 loads of laundry this morning and made coffee. Now my water pipes are frozen.


September 21, 20170 found this helpful

Use a blow dryer to thaw out the pipes. Move it slowly along the length of the pipe.

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