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Video:How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

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Don't let your frozen pipes become a major issue and expense! Watch this About.com video to learn how to thaw them so that you avoid costly problems.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe

Hi I'm Beth Allen, founder of HipChicks, and I'm here for About.com to show you how to thaw frozen pipes. 

Frozen Pipes Basics

Frozen pipes can be a messy and costly home catastrophe, and they often occur on pipes that are located on exterior walls or on an unheated crawlspace or garage.  If you've found a frozen pipe in your home before it has burst, go to the end of that pipeline, whether it be a kitchen sink or a bathroom sink, and open the valve or turn the sink faucets on, so as the water thaws it has somewhere to drain.  

Thawing Frozen Pipes

A hair dryer with a cookie sheet behind it to deflect the heat is an inexpensive and high power way to thaw a frozen pipe.  Take an old cookie sheet and lay it behind a frozen pip as you slide your hair dryer up and down, and it will put a gentle warm heat across your pipes for a soft thawing.  A cookie sheet behind allows the heat to deflect, add more warmth and protects your drywall and two-by-four for added heat.  How long it will take you to thaw your frozen pipe depends on how thick of an area is frozen, how thick your water supply lines are, and you'll know when it's thawed when you start to see the water flow out of your faucets again.

Facts About Thawing Frozen Pipes

The average homeowner can handle thawing a small area of pipe.  If you have significant frozen pipes throughout many lines, you may want to call a professional.  Another option to thaw a frozen pipe is to use a small space heater.  You can prop it up on a step stool or a ladder and position it across from the cookie sheet.  It protects your walls from any added heat as your space heater thaws your pipes.  Never use a blowtorch to thaw a pipe, you can damage the pipe and create a fire hazard.  When the pipe that you're working on does suddenly burst, be sure you know where to access your water shutoff in an emergency.  That's how you thaw frozen pipes. 

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