Frozen Pipes? Here's How To Thaw Out

With cooler weather on the horizon, homeowners in Massachusetts generally start winterizing their home by sealing air leaks and upgrading insulation. Because frozen pipes aren’t uncommon in our region, homeowners should also take the time to protect their plumbing systems. 

frozen pipes, Boston, Massachusetts

In the event that your pipes do freeze, it's imperative that you know how to thaw them, since freezing may occur even if you’ve taken precautionary measures. If your home loses power, your pipes may freeze. An unexpected storm may hit the area while you're away and cause frozen pipes, or any number of unexpected situations may occur.

Before attempting any of the methods below, open the faucet that supplies water to the specific pipe that is frozen to release any steam created during the thawing process:

  • Wrap the pipe in electric heat tape, being careful not to wrap the tape over itself. This step helps to slowly thaw the pipes.
  • Place a heat lamp no closer than 1 foot to the pipe. The lamp produces a lot of heat, so protect surrounding areas from scorching or burning by covering them with aluminum foil. To prevent electrical hazards, don’t let the lamp get wet. Be sure it’s placed on a dry area and plug it into a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet, if you have one. Also, avoid locating the lamp near a gas line.
  • Probably the most common means of thawing frozen pipes is to use a blow dryer, directing the air along the length of frozen pipe. Be sure you’re standing on a dry area, and as with the heat lamp, plug it into a GFCI outlet. Never use propane to thaw your pipes.
  • Insulate the pipe by wrapping it with several layers of toweling, then pour hot water on the towels and continue until the pipe thaws. This method is obviously messy and may be used as a last resort.

You know your frozen pipes are beginning to thaw when water leaks out through the faucet or when the pipes gurgle.

To learn more about thawing your frozen pipes or how to protect them, contact Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We proudly serve the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.

Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning serves the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.  Visit our website to see our special offers to get started today!

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