Can I try thawing the pipes myself?

Yes, but you'll need to be very careful!  Some improper thawing methods could cause the pipes to burst; others can injure or even kill you!  Here are some of the safer methods: 

  • If possible, expose a boxed-in area to the heat within your home
  • Use a heat gun or hair dryer to thaw the pipe, but set the control on "low"!  Be extremely careful, as heat from a heat gun (or, in some cases, from a blow dryer) may ignite nearby wood or paper. 
  • Rub the pipe with warm, damp rags to slowly thaw the line
  • Keep the faucet open while thawing the pipe.  As the frozen area begins to melt water begins to flow.  This will help melt more ice in the pipe.  Apply heat until full water pressure is restored
  • While you're at it, check the other faucets in the house to find out if you have any additional frozen pipes.  If one pipe freezes, others may freeze too. 
  • The broken pipe will have to be soldered or replaced.  You must be the judge of whether you can do this yourself, or whether you'll need to call a plumber.   When a break is fixed, make sure the area around the pipe gets plenty of air circulation, so that nearby insulation and other building materials have a chance to dry. 

DO NOT try to thaw a frozen pipe with a blowtorch.  There's a good chance that you will cause the water to boil within the pipe, resulting in an explosion when the pipe bursts.  Also, a blow torch will release poisonous gasses into the air; you might die trying to defrost your pipes!

Show All Answers

1. Which parts of the water service line is my responsibility, and which parts are the responsibility of the MFWD?
2. What if my main shut off valve won't work in an emergency?
3. How should I maintain the main water shut off valves?
4. What are some common reasons for frozen pipes?
5. How will I know if my pipes are frozen?
6. Why do frozen water pipes break?
7. Do water service lines (pipes that run from the house to the street) freeze as well as indoor pipes?
8. What is a water service line?
9. What should I do if my pipes freeze?
10. Can I try thawing the pipes myself?
11. How you can prevent your pipes from freezing