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How To Thaw Frozen Pipes

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Thawing Plastic pipes

Accessible pipes can be heated with a hair dryer. Keep the dryer moving and do not focus it on any one place too long.

Hot wet rags can be used to heat pipes. Simply immerse a rag in hot water (about 110 degrees F) and wrap it around the pipe. Replace the rag when it cools.

A grounded, water resistant heating pad can be wrapped around the pipe and set to the lowest heat setting.

Thawing Metal pipes

While a flame can be used to heat accessible copper or steel pipes, it is not recommended to use a direct flame on any pipe as this increases the risk of damage to the pipe as well as presenting a fire risk. Never heat the pipe any warmer than you can comfortably tolerate holding the pipe bare handed and always use a flame spreader to diffuse the flame. Never use a flame on plastic pipe.

Accessible pipes can be heated with a hair dryer. Keep the dryer moving and do not focus it on any one place too long.

Hot wet rags can be used to heat pipes. Simply immerse a rag in hot water and wrap it around the pipe. If you are able to catch water from under the pipe, you can go a step further by pouring hot (not boiling) water over the rags.

A grounded, water resistant heating pad can be wrapped around the pipe and set to the lowest heat setting.

Thawing Inaccessible pipes

Frozen water pipes located in inaccessible locations can be warmed by raising the ambient temperature. In cases where the pipe is located in an exterior facing wall, open cabinets to allow warm interior air to warm the cabinet and wall. Locating pipes may require a little detective work. First consider, most pipes travel through walls in the most direct route to get to the room they service. The water lines are likely to be near the rooms they service. Raising the indoor temperature will increase the temperature in all rooms and help heat pipes in exterior walls. But direct application of heat where the pipes run will speed the process even more.

You may place a heat lamp or portable heater facing the wall to warm it. Before using a heat source remove any combustible materials and follow all manufacturers safety warnings about how close it may be placed to the wall or other obstruction. In the absence of other warnings, place the heat source no closer than 18 inches from the wall or obstruction.

Heating this way will take time, but it does work.

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