Ideally, your home pipes should be insulated and protected from outdoor elements. But there’s always the chance a pipe will freeze during our cold Michigan winters, which can lead to an expensive rupture. If you’re only getting a trickle of water from your faucet or shower head, you may need to defrost a frozen pipe in your home.
First, open the tap halfway to relieve pressure between your faucet and the expanding ice blockage, and then follow these steps:
If the Pipe is Exposed
- Get a set of insulated, waterproof gloves and a set of towels. Soak the towels in hot water, wring them out and wrap them around the pipe at the point of the blockage. Then, re-heat the towels as the heat soaks into the pipe. You may need to do this a number of times.
- Alternately, you can use a hairdryer to thaw your pipe. Keep the hairdryer about half a foot from the pipe itself, and move it in sweeping motions to distribute heat evenly. Make sure to keep the cord out of any puddles or snowdrifts, and if you need to take it outside, use an extension cord designed for outdoor use.
If the Pipe is in a Crawlspace or Other Inaccessible Location
- Clear the area leading to your pipe as much as possible. If it’s in the wall behind a closet, for example, open the closet door and remove as many obstructions as you can.
- Raise your home thermostat above 75 degrees.
- Place a space heater near the wall concealing the pipe, and turn it on.
- Check your faucet periodically. When flow rate returns to normal, turn off the space heater and return your thermostat to its usual temperature.
Knowing how to defrost a frozen pipe before it ruptures can save you a lot of inconvenience and a costly repair bill. To learn more about caring for your pipes, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in Grand Traverse County today!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about frozen pipes and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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