How to Defrost a Frozen Pipe

  • Signs of frozen pipes include no running water from taps, frosted-over pipes, and unpleasant smells from taps.
  • If you suspect your pipes are frozen, start by shutting off the water stop tap and opening all cold taps to allow water to escape as the pipes thaw.
  • To thaw the pipes, you can use a hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel or a hair dryer held at a safe distance from the taps.
  • After thawing, check thoroughly for leaks before turning the water back on by running a dry cloth along the pipes to detect any wet patches.
  • Triple-check for leaks before turning the water back on at the stop tap to avoid potential damage from burst pipes.

Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that the cold snap doesn’t hit us until January is in full swing, so it’s important to keep on the lookout for frozen pipes around this time.

Of course, with everyone spending the majority of their time at home at the moment, frozen pipes are less likely, but you never know when the weather will turn.

With this in mind, this month, the Around the Bend team will be taking a look at how to defrost a frozen pipe.

close up of some ice

How can I tell if my pipes are frozen?

Here are some key telltale signs you have frozen pipes:

  • There’s no running water – if you can’t see any water running out of your taps, or there’s only a drip, then it could be the case that your pipes have frozen over, preventing the water from running.
  • The pipe has frosted over – in extreme cases, you may well see that parts of your tap have frosted over physically. If this is the case, you can be certain that your pipes have too.
  • Unpleasant smells from your tap – you might think that a frozen tap wouldn’t produce any bad smells, but this isn’t the case. A frozen tap will cause a blockage which will undoubtedly create a stench, so be sure this is something that you are aware of.

The steps you should take if your pipes are frozen

So your pipes are frozen. What now? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to best deal with a frozen pipe in your home.

  • Start by shutting off your water stop tap. Remember: clockwise turns it off, counter-clockwise turns it on.
  • Turn on all of the cold taps in the house. You want to do this because, as the water begins to thaw, this will allow all of the water to escape and the blockage with it.
  • To begin the process of thawing out your pipes, you want to wrap a hot water bottle in a tea towel (or use a hot water bottle protective case) and hold it against the affected pipe. Another alternative here is to use a hair dryer. Just make sure that you use it a safe distance away from the taps (at least 40cm is our suggestion).
  • Once the pipes have thawed completely, check thoroughly that there are no leaks before turning the water back on (counter-clockwise this time). This is because frozen pipes can cause the metal to expand and burst, which could cause some damage if you try and turn the water back on. You can check for leaks/damage by running a dry cloth along and being on the lookout for wet patches.
  • Once you have triple-checked for leaks (trust us – it’s that important) you are safe to turn the water back on at the stop tap.

Here at Around the Bend Plumbing, we pride ourselves on delivering fast, reliable plumbing services at competitive prices across Brighton, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Heathfield, Lewes and Hove. Around the Bend Plumbing also offer a comprehensive range of plumbing services including, kitchen plumbing, bathroom plumbing, toilet & sink unblocking, radiator plumbing, plumbing repairsfixing burst pipes and leaks & central heating services If your pipes have become frozen over winter and there’s resulting damage, get in contact with us immediately and our emergency plumbing team will be right with you.


Talk to us

A: Around The Bend Plumbing
Archer House, Britland Estate
Northbourne Road
BN22 8PW

E: [email protected]

T: 0800 756 5115

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