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How to Defrost and Protect Pipes

1/20/2014 11:55:02 AM

Step 1: Thawing a frozen pipe: Open the faucet fed by the frozen pipe.

Before thawing a frozen pipe, be sure to know how to shut off the water supply to that pipe in the event of a crack or a break. Open the faucet that is fed by the frozen pipe. A flow of water will indicate that the pipe has been defrosted.

A man walks by a frozen water pipe in downtown Cleveland on Friday, Feb. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Step 2: Thawing a frozen pipe: Heat the pipe with a heat gun.

Double up a sheet of aluminum foil and place it behind the pipe. This will protect the surrounding area from the heat and will help contain the heat to just around the frozen pipe. Use a heat gun or a hair dryer to heat the pipe. Take your time and work slowly. The warming pipe will melt the ice, and water flow should return to the open faucet.

Step 3: Protecting a pipe: Open the faucet to a trickle.

Until a pipe has been properly protected from freezing, open the faucet fed by the pipe to allow a trickle a water. This will prevent the pipe from freezing until you can take the next steps to protect it.

Step 4: Protecting a pipe: Use insulation, tape or foam.

If the pipe runs along an outside wall, try to slide insulation in the space between the pipe and the wall to protect it from the cold. For additional insulation, use insulation tape to wrap the entire length of the pipe. A foam sleeve will also do the trick.

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