Plumbing Council Midwest 
1-800-76-VALVE | Email

Frozen Pipes

Frozen plumbing pipes, although inconvenient, do not constitute a calamity. The calamity may come if the pipes are thawed with a blow torch and if the open flame or the torch is allowed to come too close to combustible material, such as insulation, wooden joists or flooring. Another danger from the use of a torch arises when both ends of a pipe are clogged with ice and when the heat is applied in the center. The application of the heat of the torch at the center of the pipe is likely to cause the water to flash into steam. Potentially this could cause an explosion with disastrous results for the user of the torch. It is far better to adopt the slower and more conservative procedure of melting ice by the use of blow dryer or heat gun.

Tips to prevent frozen pipes include:

Insulating pipes most susceptible to freezing (those in unheated areas of the home and near outer walls). There are products designed specifically for this purpose.

Make certain to disconnect garden hoses and drain and shut off outside faucets during the winter.

When it is very cold outside let the hot and cold faucets drip overnight. This water flow from at least one faucet can help keep pipes from freezing.

You can open cabinet doors under sinks on exterior walls to allow warm air from the house to circulate and help keep sink pipes from freezing.