How To Thaw A Frozen Pipe

Yikes, you suspect some of your pipes might be frozen. You want to unfreeze them yourself but are not entirely certain how to go about doing that. While it’s important to thaw out frozen pipes quickly, it’s more important to thaw these pipes correctly. Read below for quick tips on thawing a frozen pipe:

Locate the Frozen Pipe

The only way you can begin to thaw out the pipe is to locate exactly which pipe(s) are frozen. While walking throughout your house, turn on the faucets. If water is not coming out or there is only a slow trickle of water coming out, then more than likely the pipe is frozen. Check out exposed pipes, if they have a bulge or there appears to be frost on them, then they should be treated as frozen as well.

Open the Faucet

It’s highly important that before attempting to thaw out the pipes, you relieve the pressure. This means, opening both hot and cold faucets. If the faucets are not open, the pressure will build potentially leading to a burst pipe.

Begin the Thawing Process

Always begin the thawing process at the faucet and work your way down. Thawing away from the faucet will cause for the water to become trapped and not escape the pipes thoroughly.

Thawing Enclosed Pipes

Enclosed pipes are pipe in areas that are not easily accessible. There are really only a few options for thawing out these pipes

  • Turn up the heat in the house, while not guaranteed, it can be attempted to thaw out enclosed pipes.
  • Cut out a section of the wall so that you can easily access the frozen pipe. Once you have cut out the wall, you could use any of the methods from exposed pipes.

Thawing Exposed Pipes

Exposed pipes are pipes located in areas that are easily accessible. While utilizing any of the options below, its recommended to continue applying heat to the frozen area until the water coming out of the faucet is at full strength.

  • Hair Dryer, this is possibly the easiest way to thaw a pipe. Turn the hair dryer on and aim it at the start of the area of pipe that is frozen. Again, you have to begin at the start of the frozen pipe to ensure the water begins to flow out freely once thawed, rather than build up behind the frozen area.
  • Portable Heater, position the portable heater on the frozen pipe. Allow the heat to sit for awhile in order to thaw out the frozen pipe.
  • Hot Towels, while effective, this method can be slow. Take towels that have been dipped in hot water and wrap them around the pipe. These towels will need to be swapped out as they begin to cool down.
  • Electrical heating tape, this tape is placed along the pipes and distributes the heat.


There are a few risks of thawing out the pipes on your own. If you are not taking proper precautions when working with electrical appliances, it’s possible a fire can start. We highly recommend proper precautions are taken and contact with water is prevented. If the pipe is not thawed out properly, it could in turn cause a pipe to burst. In the event this happens, check out the post on What To Do When Pipes Freeze.


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