Can Northern Utah Homeowners Defrost Their Own Pipes?

DIY pipe defrosting can be very tricky for northern Utah homeowners, so check out our pro tips to help you be safe with frozen pipes!

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

The winters in northern Utah can be extremely cold, and January is often the month when some of our biggest snowstorms roll through our region. If your residential plumbing system isn’t as protected as it should be, you could be susceptible to issues like frozen pipes.

So, if you’re currently noticing that some of your pipes have frozen, you’re likely wondering what your best options are. Calling in for professional help is typically your best option, and below we’ll be providing details about what you can do on your own when it comes to defrosting your home’s pipes!

Why Pipes Frequently Freeze During Our Winters

When extremely cold weather arrives in northern Utah, it can cause water to expand within a home’s pipes. This leads to added pressure within a pipe, which then can potentially cause frozen pipes to burst!

Uninsulated and improperly insulated pipes are typically the most susceptible to freezing, and small holes or cracks in unheated residential spaces can allow cold air to infiltrate a home’s structural foundation. This is why water pipes located in garages, attics and basements are most likely to freeze.

How Long Does It Take For Frozen Pipes To Thaw?

When you use a proper heat source on a pipe, it takes anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour for the pipe to thaw. Enclosed pipes can sometimes take a little longer to thaw due to the added time that it takes for the heat source to penetrate the pipe’s insulation. 

When underground pipes freeze up, it can sometimes be thawed by running warm water. However, it’s important to remember that thawing frozen water lines is a very labor-intensive and time-consuming task, which is why it’s often your best bet to put this project in the hands of our Master Plumbers!

Steps To Prevent Frozen Pipes At Your Northern Utah Home

One of the first things that you should do to prevent frozen pipes at your home this winter is be proactive during the fall and early-winter months by draining water from supply lines and other water lines. It’s also important to remember how antifreeze isn’t a good option for these proactive measures, because its dangerous for your pets, landscaping and local ecosystem.

You should also open up your outdoor plumbing system’s hose bibs in order to facilitate thorough drainage. Our team can help you install hose bibs that are suitable for our harsh winter climate, and we can also help you guarantee that your pipes don’t expand too much when temperatures plummet during snowstorms.

Properly insulating your home’s attics and crawl spaces is another crucial way to safeguard your pipes, and simply identifying where your water supply lines run through unheated spaces can help you pay extra attention to specific parts of your plumbing system during the winter months. It’s also important to remember that you’ll need to insulate both your cold and hot water pipes.

When you have water lines that run through your garage, it’ll be important to maintain the habit of closing your garage door during the winter months. And when you’re going on vacation to escape our harsh winter weather, you should open your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate closer to your plumbing system. And when it’s really cold outside, you can even subtly drip warm water from your faucets that connect to your most vulnerable pipes to avoid potential freezing.

Do Frozen Pipes Eventually Thaw On Their Own?

Yes, but it’s incredibly risky to wait for frozen pipes to thaw on their own. This is because frozen pipes will increasingly expand water and subsequently increase pipe pressure, which can potentially lead to pipe bursts.

The first thing you should do when your pipes freeze up is reach out to the Beehive Plumbing team. Although DIY pipe thawing is possible, many northern Utah homeowners accidentally damage their water pipes while attempting these DIY plumbing projects.

Our specialists will help you to not only thaw your pipes, but also allow the steam to be properly released.

How Frozen Pipes Can Be Thawed

The first thing you’ll want to do is apply a moderate amount of warmth near the frozen pipe, and moderate levels can’t be stressed enough during this step. Applying too much heat too quickly can cause a burst, so using a small heating appliance like a hairdryer can be a good option.

It’s also important to note that you should never use an open flame for this type of drying, because this is simply too risky. You should also never attempt any DIY plumbing on exterior wall pipes that have frozen, and reaching out to our professional plumbers will be your best option in this scenario.

Finding Frozen Pipes

There are a few different ways to pinpoint frozen pipes within your residential plumbing system, and the most obvious way is to turn on faucets and see whether or not any water comes out. When no water comes from a faucet, you can know that the pipe has effectively frozen up.

Frozen pipes are often found in the coldest parts of a property, which often includes exterior walls with limited sun exposure. Frozen pipes also frequently occur in crawl spaces and underneath cabinets. When examining these pipes, take a close look to see if you recognize any frost growing on the pipe.

And it’s important to remember that if one of your home’s pipes is frozen, then you’re possibly dealing with multiple frozen pipes. Be sure to check your taps and plumbing appliances, including your dishwasher and washing machine, to verify whether or not water is running correctly.

Opening Faucets

Once you’ve located a frozen pipe, you’ll want to open up the pipe’s faucet in order to alleviate the pressure found within the depths of your plumbing system. Once the pipe has been thawed, the melted water will be able to exit your system—which essentially makes the thawing process more efficient.

Carefully Applying Heat To The Frozen Pipe

This is a very tricky process, and it generally requires professional help. But if you’re going to attempt a DIY pipe thaw, you’ll want to start by applying heat near the frozen pipe’s faucet.

Although this type of DIY project is possible, you’ll always be better off placing this complex procedure in experienced hands that have completed countless pipe thawing projects in the past.

Our specialists will be more than capable of pinpointing the source of your frozen pipes, and minimizing any potential damages to your plumbing system!

The Beehive Plumbing Team Is Here To Help You With Frozen Pipes This Winter!

Beehive Plumbing is a top-rated plumbing company based in Salt Lake City, and our team supports homes and business all throughout the northern Utah region. We understand just how common frozen pipes are this time of year, and we want you to know that our experts are here for you and your property when you’re going through these challenging repair projects.

Reach out to us online or call us at 801-849-3850 to get in touch with our team today and let us know what’s going on with your property’s pipes!

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