Friday, January 8, 2010


With the cold snap causing freezing temperatures in places where they normally don't have to deal with such things, I thought I'd give a little tip for our southern brethren on thawing frozen pipes.

Because I got asked that very question this morning.

First, the best strategy to keep your pipes unfrozen is to leave water trickling overnight. That will keep them open at least a bit so that when you get up in the morning and turn them on you'll have water.

Failing that, when pipes freeze, you need to apply heat. I hear you all saying "Well Duh" but apparently portions of this aren't as clear as they should be.

For instance, if you can't get under the house to the places where the pipes actually froze, all is not lost.

Simply open up under the sink and apply heat there. A space heater works well for this as it's going to take a while and you can just leave it go until you have water. If you can improvise a safe propping method for your heat gun, fantastic.

Why apply heat where the pipes aren't frozen you ask? Because if you heat the pipes inside the house, the heat travels down the pipes via the water and the pipe itself if it's metal (PVC doesn't carry heat as well) and thaw the frozen bits. The further the frozen section of pipe is from your sink, the longer this will take, but it will work.

Be sure and open the tap, because once the water starts running, or even trickling, you're home free. The running water will work a path through the ice and open things up.

So, there's one piece of advice. How about all the other cold-staters? Anyone got a favorite method for thawing frozen pipes or dealing with some other cold-related problem?