It can be frustrating to wake up to a chilly morning and discover your pipes have frozen. Homeowners who have experienced severe winters have firsthand knowledge of the magnitude of this challenge.
Pipes that freeze may throw a wrench into your schedule and cause significant damage to your property. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what causes pipes to freeze, prevention measures, and how to thaw if the worst-case scenario occurs.
This article will answer the question, “Will frozen pipes thaw on their own,” along with some guidelines you should follow. So, without wasting time, let’s dive in.
Will Frozen Pipes Thaw on Their Own?
Whenever your pipes freeze, the first choice could be to leave them to thaw and unfreeze on their own. However, this potentially hazardous approach presents several challenges.
Depending on the temperature, unfreezing the pipes may require a while. If the temperature remains below the freezing point for long – the lines will not defrost until the temperature climbs beyond the freezing point.
Furthermore, the melted water might quickly refreeze and cause even more harm to your pipes, leading to expensive repairs. The tubes may also explode while frozen or once thawed out.
It is thus a risky bet to wait for your plumbing to defrost on its own spontaneously. It is preferable to address the issue quickly by obtaining a service from a reputable firm rather than letting the pipes unfreeze.
How Do Pipes Freeze Effect?
Pipes have a good chance of freezing if the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and they have an even better option if the temperature lowers to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
If your pipes freeze, there is a risk that they might burst due to fractures induced by the freezing. This risk exists because there is a possibility that your pipes could freeze.
The likelihood that your pipes may burst rises after being subjected to temperatures below freezing for a period measured in hours.
A broken pipe is a significant problem that could destroy your property more and even lead to losses, including water wastage, high energy charges, and variable water supply.
What Happens When Frozen Pipes Thaw?
Because water expands when it freezes, it may cause the pipes to crack or even burst if you don’t take action promptly. When the lines thaw, the water pours at high pressure flooding your property, which may result in substantial damage.
When expecting temperatures to rise above freezing, It is essential to take these precautions to reduce the risk of any potential damage caused by frozen pipes:
- While at home, ensure you can hear the sounds of flowing water. When you are about to leave, switch off the water first. Ensure you know the valve location that shuts off the water supply.
- You must know the location of your housewide water shutoff valve since a damaged pipe may inflict much damage in no time.
- Turn down any shut-off valves you may have if they may isolate the location of the frozen pipes.
- It is advisable to contact a plumber immediately if you think a pipe has exploded to minimize damages.
If there are shut-off valves that may cut off the water supply to the region of the frozen pipes, you should do it as quickly as possible.
If you believe one of your pipes has burst, contact a plumber immediately to minimize potential damage.
How to Prevent Pipes From Freezing
Here are the best ways to prevent your pipes from freezing:
1. Allowing Water to Drip
If you slowly pump cold and hot water, it will help maintain the temperature of the pipes, preventing them from freezing. The most effective approach is allowing warm water to trickle slowly during the night to prevent the pipes from freezing.
2. Insulating The Pipes
Installing insulators is still another approach done in uncovered areas. It is one way to cut down on the loss of heat while making the heating system effective. Use foam tubes that cover the pipes entirely, as this is the most typical method of providing insulation for pipes. It is often the least-priced alternative.
3. Employ Heat Cables/Heat Tape
You can prevent pipes and the water within them from freezing by wrapping them in heat tape or heat wires to keep them warm. Because heat cables depend on electricity, it is essential to use tested items and adhere to the directions for installation provided by the manufacturer.
4. Cover Leaks
There is a possibility of freezing pipes if your home has openings that allow cold air to enter. Locate any spaces in your house and carefully seal them. You may locate these gaps in the area surrounding the pipes and wiring. If you find them, use plaster or caulk to cover the leaks.
5. Make a Thermostat Adjustment
Adjustments to your thermostat might increase the likelihood of your pipes freezing. When freezing outside, you should adjust the thermostat to maintain a constant temperature.
How to Identify Frozen Pipes
The following is what you should examine to determine whether or not your pipes are frozen;
- A foul odor will come from the taps if the outdoor sewer pipe that supplies your home freezes and breaks.
- If you hear a pounding or gurgling noise coming from your pipes, this indicates that ice is moving through them.
- Because freezing causes the expansion of water, you may discover that your pipes have bulged.
- Cracks on the pipeline’s exterior and a film of condensation forming are other signs that the pipe has frozen.
- If no water is coming out of your faucet, this is a sign that you have a frozen pipe.
How Long Should I Wait For My Frozen Pipe to Thaw?
Waiting for the pipes to unfreeze on their own could appear to be the most foolproof approach; nevertheless, it might increase the likelihood of an explosion.
It may take longer for the exterior temperature to rise when it is sufficient to unfreeze the pipes completely. Besides, anticipating this transition may be challenging and irritating when the temperature constantly changes.
Anticipating this change can be difficult and frustrating. Physical thawing may result in significant harm if conducted wrong. The time required to defrost pipes manually might also differ. Lines inside your house can defrost with a temperature rise, but outside pipes may need longer.
However, if you have the appropriate heating equipment, thawing out your frozen pipes should only take 45 minutes. The most challenging part is performing the task securely and preventing the tube from rupturing.
Can Frozen Pipes Thaw Without Bursting?
The pressure of running water pressing against pipes, ice, and valves is the primary reason thawing pipelines pose the greatest threat of bursting. If you turn off the water supply, the pressure in the pipes may eventually become excessive to withstand.
In addition, as soon as the temperature outside falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, exposed pipes have an increased possibility of freezing and, as a result, bursting. Nevertheless, the lines can still defrost without suffering damage; release the pressure and patiently let thawing take place.
How Can You Thaw Your Pipes?
It is best to contact a plumber as soon as possible if you have any reason to believe your pipes have frozen. Follow these steps to defrost your frozen pipes:
- With great care, find out the frozen part. To do this, examine all the faucets to ensure they generate water. Check under the sinks for any pipe portions with ice.
- Ensure the tap is open to allow any water that melts to flow away.
- After opening the tap, heat the frozen region to defrost the pipe. Use a heat lamp, hair dryer, electrical heating tape, or any warm-producing device to administer mild heat to the area. To prevent the pipes from developing pressure, thaw the location nearest to the tap initially.
Avoid These Mistakes When Thawing Pipes
You’ll find several solutions that could be more effective by doing online research for ways to defrost frozen pipes. But you must avoid doing the following at all costs:
1. Avoid Using Portable Heaters and Dryers
Always store your dryer, electric heating pad, or portable heater before leaving the house since they can spark a fire if not overseen. Use alternative options if you need to go away or cannot keep a close check.
2. Avoid Using Open Flame
You must avoid using open flames like blowtorches, propane torches, or similar devices on a frozen pipe because they can cause fire and damage your pipes.
3. Avoid Letting Your Pipes Freeze on Their Own
Even though the ice in your frozen pipes will eventually melt, you shouldn’t wait to experience the devastation it may inflict. It is necessary to take action immediately to avoid the situation becoming much more dire.
If you do the essential procedures advised for preventive measures, you can significantly minimize the likelihood of your pipes freezing. You can reduce tension and get more restful sleep whenever you expect freezing weather.
Keep your cool if, despite your best efforts, the water in your pipes does not begin to thaw. In this situation, it is preferable to depend on professionals rather than run the danger of bursting a pipe and causing an even more severe problem. Your neighborhood plumber should be able to defrost the lines and get the water running correctly and securely.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do You Unfreeze Pipes Quickly?
Employ a heat lamp, space heater, or hair drier to defrost the frozen pipe. Never use a propane torch to defrost pipes since this increases fire danger.
2. Does Pouring Salt Down the Drain Help Unfreeze Pipes?
Yes, you can thaw Drainpipes using salt and hot water. Combine the two and pour the resulting mixture on the frozen pipe. It will have the same effect as rock salt when spread on sidewalks coated in ice.
3. Does Salt Water Damage Pipes?
Salt water can damage pipes; the water reacts with the inner layer, leading to corrosion. Because corrosion breaks down the components of the pipe, it will ultimately become fragile, unable to withstand pressure, causing a leak or burst at some point.