Winter is coming and yes, there are certainly parts of Georgia where freeze warnings occur and the temperature goes below 31 degrees! So, making sure your pipes don't freeze is an important part of your home maintenance routine. You can read more about this in our article on How To Prevent Your Water Pipes From Freezing.
But, what if your pipes are already frozen? What's the best way to thaw them out and hopefully prevent them from cracking and bursting?
Here Are Our Tips On How To Thaw Your Frozen Water Pipes
- Inspect your water pipes. Look for any visible cracks in the pipe. If you do see a crack contact your local plumber.
- Shut off your main water line.
- Open all the faucets that are connected to those pipes. Let those faucets run until no more water comes out.
- Keep the faucets open, do not turn them off.
- Use a hair blow dryer on the frozen pipe to thaw it out. Don't place the blow dryer directly on the pipe, hold it a few inches away and test the pipe with your hands to feel if it's thawed enough. But be aware that the amount of heat a pipe can withstand depends on what the pipe is made out of. So, to be safe, don't want to keep the hair dryer on high heat for too long on the same area of the pipe.
- Point the heat from the hair dryer onto the pipe closest to the faucet and then work your way down to the coldest part of the faucet. Moving the hair dryer slowly but again, not too close to the pipe.
- Once it seems that the pipes are not as cold - turn your main water line back on and since your faucet is open water should start flowing freely. If you notice that water is still just trickling or not coming out as it should, then there may still be a section of the pipe that is still frozen.
- If that is the case then continue using the hair dryer as instructed above until the water is coming out of your faucet as it normally should.
Will Frozen Pipes Thaw On Their Own?
Technically yes, frozen pipes can certainly thaw on their own but - the problem is that if the pipes were frozen for an extended period of time - the chances of them bursting are much higher. So, just leaving the pipes alone to thaw on their own can end up costing you the expense of not only replacing those pipes but repairing the damage caused by ruptured pipes.
How Long Does It Take For Pipes To Unfreeze?
The length of time it takes for pipes to unfreeze depends on the thickness of the pipe, the thickness of the insulation and the temperature in the room or outdoor area. It can take up to 24 hours for a frozen water pipe to completely thaw out.
Will Pouring Hot Water Down The Drain Unfreeze Pipes?
Yes, depending on what your pipes are made of. Technically, boiling hot water can help to unfreeze your pipes but know that boiling water is 212° F so any pipe (or sink for that matter) that cannot tolerate that temperature will not be able to stand up to being subjected to the high temperatures of boiling liquid.
What Are Water Pipes Made Of?
Below is a list of the different materials water pipes are made of and what high temperatures they can withstand.
Iron - 2570° F
Copper - 1981° F
Galvanized Steel - 392° F
Pex - 200° F
CPVC - 200° F
PVC plastic - 140° F
So, if your water pipes are Pex, CPVC or PVC we recommend to NOT use this technique to thaw out your frozen pipes.
How Do You Thaw Frozen Pipes Underground?
Thawing pipes that are frozen underground requires a bit of work and some equipment. It requires digging up the ground and exposing the frozen pipe, cutting that pipe and feeding a hose with hot water into that pipe to help thaw it out.
We would recommend to contact a professional plumber for this project since the amount of work is extensive and you may end up digging a huge area to find all the pipe sections that are frozen.
If you have any questions about winterizing your plumbing or are having some problems with frozen pipes, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We Offer Frozen Pipe Repair in Metro Atlanta and Surrounding Areas
Fulton County, Bartow County, Cobb County, Paulding County, Cherokee County, Gwinnett County, and Douglas County.
Acworth GA, Atlanta GA, Austell GA, Cartersville GA, Doraville GA, Douglasville GA, Hiram GA, Kennesaw GA, Lawrenceville GA, Lithia Springs GA, Loganville GA, Mableton GA, Marietta GA, Powder Springs GA, Rockmart GA, Roswell GA, Smyrna GA, Tucker GA, Villa Rica GA, Vinings GA, Woodstock GA, and Surrounding Communities.