Frozen Pipes – How to Locate and Revive Them

Pipe freezing or frozen pipes is not uncommon in cold continents like America. This can cause a lot of water problems in homes. As we all know, bringing these pipes back to their normal function of supplying a steady flow of water is quite easy, but finding them can be quite challenging.

Your home is expected to host a web of pipes to consistently deliver fresh water to your faucets 24 hours a day. These pipes which connect from the main line outside is composed of many branches that goes down to every sink and shower in the house. Some of these pipes can be filled with ice. The problem is finding the frozen spot that prevents the water from flowing.

Here are a few practical tips to locate frozen-pipes and how to bring them back to normal:

1. Look for clues

It is quite easy to tell if water has ceased to flow in your pipeline. If you are sure that there is sufficient supply, you will be able to discern that the problem is within your system.

If upon turning on your faucet, you will realize that no water is coming out, you should check the other outlets to identify the exact area where problems exist.

2. Turn all water outlets on

In order to eliminate areas not affected by ice, you need to turn on every water outlet in your entire household. This will make you see specific branches that are not working. If the ones not working are secluded in a single room or section, the frozen pipe is somewhere between the outlet and the split from the main line. If all the faucets in the same floor are not working, there’s a problem in the line where the lower and upper floor separate.

If all the faucets don’t work, the frozen section could be in pipeline going to your house. It is the pipe that connects to the main line so that your house can get a supply of water.

3. Identify the right spot

With the problem areas identified, you may be able to find the frozen section of the pipeline. If it is not in your main feeder pipe, the frozen pipe could be within the walls. This is a bit complicated and may require the expert assistance of plumbing contractors. But if you have a little bit of luck, the frozen portion could be that exposed part just before your faucet.

If part of the main feeder pipe is the one that froze, your best move would be to go to the basement to find exposed pipes there.

You can identify frozen pipes because they have a layer of condensation on it. It can also manifest frost or a white area where freezing occurred. If you can see these upon inspection, you can be certain that you have found your target.

In the absence of visual clues, you can still have a way to find the problem by touching the pipe to determine their temperature. Frozen pipes are certainly colder than the rest on the line. This is not an exact science but it can help you to determine which part of the pipeline needs your attention.

4. Heat the frozen pipe

Once you have identified the frozen areas, you need to warm them up melt the ice. Do this by wrapping frozen pipes with electric heating pad. An alternative would be to wrap the pipe with a towel and douse it with hot water. While you are doing this, you should keep the faucet open them see the water flow through. Avoid heating the pipe with a blowtorch or any open flame device.

frozen pipes

image credit: Cha gia Jose (

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