How to Deal (And Avoid) Frozen Pipes

Winter is distinguished by severe snowfall, freezing temperatures, and powerful winds. Beyond the beauty of snow and the coziness of warmth indoors, the winter season is also known to cause costly damage, such as frozen pipes due to dropping temperatures.

Outside piling and exposed pipes in unheated or uninsulated attics or basements might freeze. In fact, in the United States alone, “water damage and freezing” accounts for 29.4% of homeowner insurance claims. This demonstrates that dealing with frozen pipes is a regular occurrence in American homes, especially during the colder months.

Thankfully, it’s possible for you to save your family unnecessary stress by keeping an eye out for frozen pipe warning signs. Read on to learn how to avoid and defrost frozen pipes, as well as the signs to watch out for.

Frozen Pipes: 5 Signs to Watch Out For

  • Lack of Running Water

Did your kitchen faucet drip as you were making coffee this morning? People are alerted to frozen pipes when there is no running water.

  • Swollen Pipes

When water freezes, its molecules expand, causing pressure that can cause pipes to bulge.

  • Gurgling Sounds

If your pipes start to pound or gurgle, it could mean that ice has accumulated in them.

  • Pipe Cracks and Fissures

Pipes containing moisture or surface fractures may freeze.

  • Unpleasant Water Odor 

Because of a frozen external sewer pipe, your faucet water smells like sewage.

Dealing with Frozen Pipes

  • The First-Aid

If the pipes begin to freeze, turn off the water. You can either turn off the water to the entire house or only the frozen pipe.

  • Know the Timing 

Pipes may immediately freeze overnight, or as quickly as six to eight hours. In temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, unprotected pipes are more likely to freeze. 

  • Safety First

“Wait and see” is dangerous. As the ice melts, the trapped water between the faucet and the ice raises pipe pressure. A pressure buildup can lead frozen pipes to explode.

Freezing pipes do not usually explode. Ice, on the other hand, inhibits unfrozen water from flowing through pipes.

It’s important to know that copper pipes are the most likely to burst due to freezing, followed by steel, PVC, PEX, and other polymers. Plastics like PEX and PVC can freeze without exploding.

  • Learning How to Defrost Frozen Pipes

Remove pressure from exterior water lines, install pipe insulation in exterior walls, basements, and crawl spaces; use sleeves to keep pipes above 20 degrees F; leave faucets open (slightly), and use space heaters. Close the room’s doors to keep heat after disconnecting a space heater.

To clean up a spill, get a mop, a pail, and extra towels. Water is released when a frozen pipe thaws.

Remember to always thaw out frozen pipes with caution. When defrosting frozen pipes, keep portable heaters away from flammable materials, join the heating cable to the pipe, wrap a frozen pipe with a plugged-in electric heating pad; oscillate the blow dryer slowly along the frozen pipe portion. You can also wrap a warm water-soaked cloth around frozen pipes.

To defrost frozen pipes, never use a gas, kerosene, propane heater, or blowtorch. Keep an eye on heat sources at all times.

Using heat sources correctly prevents frozen pipes and assures your family’s safety. As such, never leave heaters unattended and unplug them before leaving or going to bed. Also, keep kids and pets away.


Frozen pipes are inconvenient and stressful, especially when it gets in the way of day-to-day tasks. Now that you’re more aware of how to deal with frozen pipes, be proactive, and don’t let your home be a victim this winter season! At the same time, you can also work with a trusted professional team by your side.Are you in need of plumbing services in Georgia? Stiles Services is a team of professionals that offers quality services for the needs of your home. Call us today!

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