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Thaw your frozen pipes

By Edited Nov 10, 2016 2 2

With all of the wild weather in the last few years, more people are being exposed to problems they have never encountered before. Most notable being snow and cold. If you wake up some cold morning and find you have no water, don't panic. Frozen pipes could be your problem.

Things You Will Need

100 watt bulb.

insulation

Step 1

First check out other faucets in your house or apartment. You need to know where the problem originates. Most often the offending pipe will be in an exterior wall or a crawl space under your house.

Step 2

Lets say you found the culprit. Your kitchen sink is not running, but the rest of the house is. Your next step is to torn on the water. Not full blast mind you, just a trickle, or what would be a trickle is the pipe wasn't frozen.

Step 3

Now find the shutoff valve. If you thaw the pipe and discover that the ice has cracked the pipe you are going to want to shut off the water. So now we head back to the kitchen. Open the cabnet doors under the sink. Remove all of the clutter and cleaners from under there. Line the bottom with a bath towel or two. Now we come to the part where I differ from most folks.

Step 4

Many people suggest a torch for this job. I find most people more comfortable using a 100 watt light bulb. Hopefully you still have one of the old, non-CFL bulbs around the house. Using a portable lamp or a trouble light place the bulb near the offending pipes and turn it on. If possible, plug the light into GFIC outlet (one with the little red reset button).

Step 5

Once the water starts running again, check for leaks. To prevent refreezing examine the area and see if you need insulation. In the short term leave the cabnet doors open under the sink. This is a rather basic method for fixing a frozen pipe. If you have a crawl-space under your house this could be much more complicated. You may want to add some heat tape to your pipes or improve your insulation. If your pipe cracked or split, you can detemine if you are capable of fixing the leak. Otherwise call a plumber.

Tips & Warnings

If you have old iron pipes clean out the faucet screens, the ice may have dislodged some rust.

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Comments

Jan 23, 2011 4:38pm
Lynsuz
Very informative, great tips for fixing frozen pipes. ^^
Jan 28, 2011 11:06pm
dreamaker
I used a pipe thawing machine today to thaw a heating zone on a hot water heating system, worked like a charm. This one will help some folks out good job.
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