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How to Deal With Frozen Pipes During Winters? An In-Depth Discussion

If a pipe gets frozen during winter, there are higher chances that it may burst and cost you a repair of a minimum of $1,000. That’s why you need to detect those pipes shortly and take essential steps to prevent bursting. So, how to deal with frozen pipes during winter?

First, you need to detect the ice-clogged lines and open the faucets. Then, you must apply heat using a hair dryer, heating blanket, electrical pad, or heating lamp on those pipes to melt the ice. In severe cases, you may need to consult a professional.

Throughout this article, we will provide information about how to deal with these pipes’ ice-clogging issues. You will also learn how to prevent this issue from occurring. So, without further ado, let’s start.

How To Deal With Frozen Pipes During Winters?

how to deal with frozen pipes during winters

When the water freezes, it keeps expanding inside the pipes. As a result, the pipes may burst due to excessive water freezing inside them.

Here are some steps that will help you to address this ice-jammed pipe issue during winter:

Detect The Frozen Pipes

Generally, pipes like outdoor faucets, sprinkler lines, pipes of basements, attics, etc., have a higher chance of getting frozen. Also, pipes near the exterior wall can get ice-clogged easily.

If the pipes get clogged with ice, you may first notice the dropped water pressure. Sometimes, water may not come out from the faucet. You can also see frost on the pipes, or the pipes may look unshaped.

Keep The Faucets Open

While the thawing process, you need to keep the faucets open. Generally, if the water keeps running through the pipes, the water flow also plays a role in melting the ice. 

Also, when the ice melts completely, the water will start coming out from the faucets. This will also indicate when you need to stop the thawing process.

Application Of Heat

The most effective way of thawing the ice-clogged pipes is to apply heat to those pipes. There are several ways regarding this;

  • You can wrap an electric blanket and heating pad around the frozen pipes. This will slowly melt the ice of those pipes.
  • Also, you can use a heating lamp or space heater for heating up and thawing the pipes.
  • You can also take a towel and soak it in hot or warm water. Then, wrap it around the pipes.
  • Blowing hot air on the pipes using a hairdryer will also be effective.

We always recommend not to use any open flame method to apply heat on the pipes as it has a fire hazard.

Consult Licensed Plumber

Sometimes, you may not access or locate the frozen pipes properly. In this case, You must consult a licensed plumber to thaw those pipes.

They all have essential tools and expertise to locate, access, and thaw those ice-clogged pipes.

How To Prevent The Pipes From Getting Frozen?

You can prevent the pipes from getting ice-clogged by taking some preventive steps. Those will reduce your hassle and also the potential risk of pipe bursting. Here are those steps:

Insulating Or Heating The Pipes

You can prevent the dropping of water temperature inside those pipes by insulating them. Generally, the exterior pipes or pipes near the exterior walls are most prone to freezing.

You can use foam pipe insulation or electrical heating tape to wrap them around the pipes. This will prevent freezing by maintaining higher temperatures inside the pipes.

Moreover, you can also use heating cables to heat those pipes directly. In this case, a thermostat will monitor and control the heating temperature.

Drain Outdoor Pipes

As the outdoor pipes, faucets, or hoses are more prone to freezing, you better drain and remove them before winter arrives. You can also use shut-off valves so that you can restrict water flow through pipes that are connected to the outside faucets.

Open Cabinet Doors

Generally, your house may have pipes in the bathroom or kitchen that are running through cabinets. If you open the cabinets, the warm air of the interior will get the scope to circulate those pipes. This will reduce or prevent the risk of these pipes from getting frozen.

Seal Cracks And Gaps

Any gaps and cracks near the pipe can allow the outer cold air to flow inside. This increases the risk of pipe freezing. Now, after locating those gaps or breaks, you can use caulk or any insulation method to seal those. This will restrict the cold air from reaching and freezing the pipes.

Maintain Consistent Indoor Temperature

Generally, people lower the room temperature at night to reduce energy consumption and utility bill. But, we suggest not doing so during the frigid temperature conditions.

Thus, you must keep the temperature constant during the night and day to prevent the pipe from freezing.

Allow Water Drips

This will ensure that water flows through the pipes and reduce the risk of ice-clogging. You will get better results if you open the farthest faucets. It will cover and flow water through most of the plumbing system.

You can check the following video to get a better idea about how dripping faucets can prevent the pipe from freezing:

Insulating Unheated Areas

There are unheated areas like basements, attics, and crawl spaces in your house. If you insulate these areas, those spaces will remain warmer.

Thus, the pipes near those places will also remain warmer and unlikely to freeze. You can use spray foam or install batting insulation or foam board in those places in this regard.


In this section, we will answer a few common questions about pipe freezing.

How Long Will It Take To Unfreeze A Pipe?

When you start thawing the ice-clogged pipes, the water pressure will keep increasing with time. Yet, it may take around 30-60 minutes to regain the original water pressure on the pipes.

What Temperature Do Pipes Freeze At?

Pipes can begin to freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing point. Generally, below 20°F or -6°C, the pipes will become ice-clogged and pose a bursting risk.

Will Frozen Pipes Unfreeze On Their Own?

If the temperature increases from the freezing point, pipes will unfreeze on their own. But, the pipe may burst before the temperature rises; thus, take steps to thaw the ice-clogged pipes.

Final Thoughts

If you ignore the frozen pipes issue and let it linger, there will be a risk of the pipe getting burst. We already provided tips regarding how to deal with frozen pipes during winter. You need to thaw the frozen pipes by applying heat to the pipe surfaces. 

Locating and thawing the pipes can be troublesome, so try to prevent the pipe from freezing. For this, you need to insulate the pipes, an unheated area of your houses. Also, draining outdoor pipes, sealing cracks, and maintaining consistent temperature will help in this regard.