Frozen pipes can be a real issue during the winter months. Pipes that run outdoors or along the outer walls of the home are the most vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, simply keeping the interior of your home warm isn’t enough protection for pipes that run close to exterior walls.
Water pipes that run from the main water line into the home are pressurized to ensure that you have adequate water pressure to shower, flush the toilet, and perform many other everyday tasks. This also means there is a lot of pressure behind the water if the pipes were to freeze and burst. A lot of water can enter your crawlspace or between the walls very quickly if your pipes happen to freeze and burst. Let’s look at how to thaw frozen pipes in the wall without tearing the wall apart to get to them and the types of tools you’ll need to thaw frozen pipes.
Prepare to Thaw the Pipes
The water from your faucets won’t run if the water is frozen in the pipes. Turn the water off at the supply line if you suspect that it is frozen. Turn the affected faucets on so that the pressure is allowed to escape as the ice thaws. Follow the pipes from the inactive faucet until you find the frozen area. You should be able to identify the frozen area by the frost or ice on it. Some frozen areas may simply appear as small bulges in the pipes instead of showing signs of frost or ice.
Burst pipes will be much easier to find because they will likely be dripping with water, especially if you’ve already turned the water off at the supply line. You may see small frozen rivulets or icicles if the pipe burst happened several hours ago and has been slowly leaking. A more recent burst may still be spraying water if there’s pressure in the line.
Frozen Pipes in the Wall or Ceiling
Frozen pipes in the wall or ceiling present unique challenges. You obviously don’t want to tear out the wall or ceiling to expose the frozen pipe and thaw them. Here are a few ways to thaw pipes in the wall or ceiling as long as they haven’t already burst:
Pipes at Risk for Freeze
The Pipes that are along an exterior wall are most likely to freeze during very cold weather. Pipes that are protected by insulation, between the floors of your multi-story home, or otherwise well-insulated are at a much lower risk of freeze during the winter months. Here is a small list of pipes that are more susceptible to freeze:
How to Avoid Frozen Pipes
The best way to keep from having to thaw frozen pipes in the wall is to keep them from freezing. Moving water doesn’t freeze as easily as water that is sitting still inside the pipes. Leave your faucets on just enough to create movement in the pipes so the water has a much lesser chance of freezing. Here are a few more ways to avoid frozen pipes this winter.
Tools for Thawing Frozen Pipes in a Wall
We mentioned several tools and supplies you may need in order to prevent or thaw frozen pipes in the wall. We have everything you need to address frozen pipes and ensure that they don’t become frozen again.