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What to Do If You Have Frozen Pipes

Frozen faucet and pipes in Caseyville, IL, during the winter.

Frozen faucet and pipes in Caseyville, IL, during the winter.

If you wake up one morning and you suddenly don’t have running water, it’s likely a sign that your pipes have frozen. We do not recommend waiting for the pipes to thaw on their own because the longer you wait to deal with the situation, the more likely it is that your pipes will burst. At Morrison Plumbing, we can help you with your frozen pipes, but you can also follow these tips before you call us. We’re always here to support you and ensure your home remains safe and functional, especially during the cold winter months.

How to Determine Where Pipes are Frozen

You can locate which pipes are frozen by checking what is no longer working. It could be your kitchen faucet that isn’t supplying water or a toilet that doesn’t refill. Identify the plumbing problem and then work backward from there. You can look for condensation or frost on your pipes and touch them to locate extremely cold spots. Try using a small tool and tapping the pipes to listen for a solid sound. Don’t forget to check the basement pipes, the water main, and the outside faucets. If the techniques we provide to thaw your pipes don’t work for you and you need professional frozen pipe repair, count on Morrison Plumbing for our excellent services.

How to Thaw a Drain Pipe

If a drain pipe is the problem, we have a few techniques you can try. Be sure to shut off the water supply to the plumbing section you’re working on before you start unfreezing any pipes. We’ve found these three techniques to be effective for thawing frozen drain pipes:

  • Thaw pipes using a space heater or heat lamp at least 3 feet away from any potentially flammable materials.
  • Direct warm air up and down frozen pipe lengths with a hair dryer.
  • Wrap the frozen pipe with an electric heat cable and monitor the process closely.

These thawing techniques are effective on any plumbing that is easily accessible, including pipes in basements and crawlspaces.

A young brunette woman holding a blue hairdryer in Caseyville, IL.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes in the Wall

Before attempting to thaw frozen pipes inside a wall, locate and turn off your home’s main water valve. Because your options are limited, this type of plumbing problem is more difficult to resolve than frozen drainpipes:

  • Increase the temperature of the furnace and open closets and cabinets near frozen pipes
  • Place a fan heater near frozen pipes to blow directly into wall vents
  • Make a hole in the wall to expose the pipes and use the techniques described in the previous paragraph

Most home plumbing systems run through difficult-to-reach areas. It is not always possible to reach a frozen pipe by opening a wall or working under the sink. If you have frozen pipes inside enclosed areas such as crawl spaces, it is best to call in the plumbing professionals.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes Outside

Stay safe when deciding how to thaw a frozen outdoor faucet or exterior pipes. Heat tape and hair dryers both work well, but use caution when using electrical equipment outside when it’s wet. Wrap the pipe or open the hose bib in towels if you’re not comfortable with your other options. You can warm a teakettle and gradually pour hot water over the towel wraps. It may take a few tries, but this method is safer than working with electricity while standing in the cold snow. If any of these techniques make you uncomfortable or you would prefer the practiced hands of professionals, contact our team of experts today and we’ll gladly pay you a home visit to assess and resolve the situation.

A black tea kettle emitting steam in Caseyville, IL.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Most people, especially in the Midwest, are concerned about how to deal with frozen water pipes this time of year. You can’t always prevent it, but these tips can help reduce the chances of your pipes freezing and bursting inside your home or business.

  1. Increase the thermostat temperature and leave interior doors open to circulate warm air throughout the house.
  2. Allow faucets to drip when temperatures drop to prevent both hot and cold water pipes from freezing.
  3. Use fans to circulate warm air through the kitchen and bathrooms, directing them toward open cabinet doors.
  4. Improve insulation and reseal window and door frames to prevent cold air from seeping into walls.
  5. Before the first freeze, disconnect and drain hoses, insulate outdoor pipes, and cover faucets.


If you need professional repair services for your frozen pipes, don’t hesitate to call our experts at Morrison Plumbing at (618) 226-8933. We’re always here to faithfully serve our community and any customer who needs our skilled services. Contact us today and let us ensure you get through the winter comfortably with properly working pipes.

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